Abounding in the Work of the Lord

1 Corinthians 15:58“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Paul places three principles before us to consider in the work of the Lord:

The first principle is that our labor must be steadfast. The two words “steadfast” (firmly seated) and “immovable” (unshaken) combine to urge us to “let nothing move you.” Two things are desirable in every good soldier: steadiness under fire and enthusiasm during a charge. The Holy Spirit is very specific in His counsel and never wastes words, so He uses both words. In essence, He tells us to be firmly faithful. Instead of being thermometers that register temperature, we are to be thermostats that regulate it!

The second principle is that our labor must be wholehearted. The statement “…always abounding in the work of the Lord” is Paul’s way of saying, “always give yourselves fully” to the work of God. Under the first principle, the charge was to be firmly faithful, but here we are called to be abundantly fruitful. The word “abound” pictures something flowing over the edges on all sides. We should not do as little as we can for Christ, but as much as we can. He abounded in work for us; we should abound in work for Him. Most of us find it difficult to abound in our works for the Lord, but we have no problem abounding in our efforts to make money or to satisfy our dreams and desires. Why should the work of God suffer? We must turn from half-hearted token expressions of service to Christ! Superficial service is wasted service. The diligent servant is the one most ready to meet his Lord.

The third principle is that we must do our labor in an expectant manner—“…knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” This statement is in the present tense rather than the future tense, and by putting it this way, Paul teaches us that the reality of the future shapes and motivates how we live in the present. We do not labor for a dead Savior, but a living Lord who shall remember the work you have done in His name. It would be vain if Christ had not risen, but because of the resurrection, your labor is not empty. I admire the man who labors when nobody praises him, who presses on although fruit is lacking but the promise is clear.


I Forgot About God

Yesterday, I nearly forgot about God. To make it worse, yesterday was a Sunday.

It seems unlikely that, on the Lord’s Day of all days, I would forget
about the Lord as I prepared to serve Him and worship Him. But here’s
how it nearly happened.

I had prepared my Bible study lesson earlier in the week like I
usually do. On Sunday morning, I arrived at the church early enough to
print out the lesson for class. That’s when the warfare hit. The
website that hosts all of my online documents was down, and so I
couldn’t access my notes for teaching, nor the note sheets for the

Immediately, my mind engaged its Tech Support Troubleshooting
procedures. I ran through all the protocols for “fixing the Internet”
that I’ve learned from working two decades in the tech industry. All
of my efforts led to nothing. The screen just showed an error,
suggesting that I try again later. The computer was calm, but I had
become a sweating, panicking mess.

I decided to take the computer’s advice. I left the office and went to
practice the worship songs with the Praise Team. Before we began, we
were prompted to mention anything on our hearts that we felt needed to
be voiced in prayer. That’s when the conviction hit me square in the

“Brent,” I said ashamedly to my own soul, “you forgot about God.”

I mentioned the technical struggles I was having to the rest of the
group. As we prayed, I admitted to God that I was striving within my
own wisdom, without even asking Him to be a part of this service I was
offering to Him. I confessed that when I ran into a trial, a bit of
warfare, He wasn’t even on my troubleshooting list, when He should
have been step number one.

But God is good, all the time. After that prayer, we offered some
sweet worship to Him in that brief rehearsal time. And afterwards, my
Internet issues had been resolved. I printed my notes and my handouts
and headed to the classroom just in time.

Yesterday, I nearly forgot about God.

But thankfully He is faithful and never forgets about me. Yesterday,
my Great Shepherd led me into a time of prayer and a time of
reflection upon His faithful character. As the psalmist put it:

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
―Psalm 46:10

Go to the Ant

Years ago, visiting a friend’s home, I stood in the bathroom doorway while she hastily cleaned the toilet for my visit. She apologetically explained that although she had three boys (all older than my kids), she struggled with the amount of time it took to teach them basic household chores, so she ended up doing them herself. That was a significant event for my parental development. I decided I didn’t want to be the one doing all of the household work—not necessarily for my own selfish gain (but, let’s face it: who wants to be the only one caring for the home?!?), but most importantly for the necessary gain of my children. I began to wonder what these boys’ wives would think one day when their husbands didn’t know how to help around the house because their mother didn’t take the time to teach them.

As time progressed, I learned from experience exactly why she didn’t take that time: it’s painstaking drudgery to teach kids to work hard. Everything within us (our fleshly selves) wants to sit this one out and let someone else take care of it. We want to get away with the least amount of work possible without missing any of the benefits.

But God doesn’t call us to a life of laziness. On the contrary, He calls us to diligent work. Judy Rogers has written a fabulous song entitled “Go to the Ant” (you can listen to it here) that’s based off of Proverbs 6:6-11. I love the entire CD, but this song in particular is one I’ll still sing to my kids as I’m encouraging them to do the work God has called them to. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “…it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.” God has generously given us homes to tend to; it is our responsibility to care for them and to teach our kids to do the same.

Balancing the Books

The phrase, “Where’s Waldo?” is, I’m sure, one that’s very familiar to most. Waldo is the token character seen in children’s illustrated books and was definitely one of my favorites growing up. These past few months, I have taken on the phrase “Where’s Waldo?” and renamed it, “Where’s Saba?!”

I have been MIA to say the least! I work full time at Golfland Sunsplash Water Park in the mornings and then go to school full time in the evenings, studying for cardiac sonography. On my good days, I may squeeze in an early morning or late night gym session. All of this leaves my days long and exhausting. The water park season was extremely busy this year, and the weekends were packed. I generally never work weekends, but this year brought about a new work schedule. My Sundays were robbed from me, and at times, I would feel guilty for not being able to worship on Sunday with God’s people. I found myself reasoning, “God gave me this job to honor Him, yet I can’t even make it on Sunday to worship Him.” I had a dilemma: I could either walk away from a job that was keeping me afloat, with all my expenses as a broke college student, or I could continue to work Sundays. Though it may seem minuscule, it is a real issue that I have struggled with, and I’m sure many of you have as well.

God has been so gracious to me in providing me with work to use money for good things; things like my education, supporting the local church, and the occasional Cane’s chicken box combo (one of my favorites). I have grown to see that God is in total control, and there are some Sundays when I have seen how His sovereignty pans out. I have had incredible witnessing opportunities with co workers and even customers on Sundays, and I see how God wanted me at work just so I could share the good news with those who don’t know Him. This is by no means a reason to neglect the corporate time of worship with God’s people, but I see how God has called me to reach beyond the confines of the church to those in the back woods and share the Gospel with them. Isaiah 40:28 reads, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired for His understanding is inscrutable.” I make it personal and insert my name: “Saba, do you not know? I am God and you are not; therefore trust and rest in my Son.” God’s wisdom surpasses any human understanding, and if working a few extra hours means God’s glory is displayed to others, then I will continue to bless Him by doing all things in His name.

So after working multiple weeks without time off, paying back Sally Mae, giving to the local church, laboring on Labor Day, and everything in between, I greatly look forward to the ultimate rest that Jesus Christ the Messiah will bring when the worries and cares of this world will no longer consume me. Working and using the money to provide for the temporary will be a distant shadow as I stand face to face before Him worshipping fully! So dear Christian, continue to ask God for wisdom as we seek to balance the books with our legitimate life issues, but remember the books were balanced when Jesus wiped the sin debt and gave us true rest!