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.


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