By Robert Halsey Pine
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58 NRSV).
St. Paul ends his long discussion about life after death with these words of guidance and encouragement to the Corinthians. For Paul, our resurrection from death through the risen Christ is essential to our faith. He would say that life is without meaning otherwise. Paul said to them, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I go back to the words of Servant Arthur Moore of England as he spoke to a group while on a mission in the U.S. several years ago. As he answered questions, a gentleman inquired about the subject of universal salvation. He asked the Reverend Moore, “What reason does man have to do what is good if in the end God will save him anyway?” Servant Arthur’s response was, “If we know that God loves us, forgives us and wants us to be with Him in eternity, why would we want to intentionally disobey him?”
In his response, Servant Arthur supports our hope and at the same time challenges us. The difficult part for us is to obey the Lord. Even the Saints have had their difficulties in obeying the Lord. But Paul exhorts us to, “…be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Because of God’s promises through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, anything but seeking God’s will for us is the wrong road.
Father God, My words sometimes belie my actions. I struggle to be like Jesus and the Saints. I keep making life too much about me and not enough about You. I pray that You help me to fully understand Your promises and act in Your way. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.