“In Vain or Not in Vain,” episode four.
Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual well-being and ministry overflowing. We are in a series called Not in Vain. We don’t want to live this life in vain. Perfectly squandered, wasted, and lost. We want to do things that will count for now, and for eternity. That’s the application of the Resurrection conviction that the apostle Paul brings to us. After 57 versus where he climaxes with, thanks be to God for the victory that he knows in the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, now, beloved brothers, family, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
I said, I’m using two idioms. Idioms, which are a common language. The first one was from poker. Be all in. Fully stake your life on the Resurrection. Because of your Resurrection, Lord Jesus, your ministry to me is going to be accepted. And here is a second idiom. I’m going to go all out. That’s a phrase my father used to use– he’ll say, son, go all out, go all out, son. Always abounding in the work of the Lord.
That’s a beautiful word, abounding. There’s a bountiful feeling there, isn’t it? Of inspiration, of motivation to action. I want us to be abounding, overflowing from the internal resource of your conviction about the Resurrection, to the external application of ministry. Resurrection theology pushing you to an effectual life.
An abounding life means not a lazy life. An abounding life means not an idle life. An abounding life means not an easy life. It is abounding in bounty and focus and effect and toil.
He says, always abounding, meaning, always. Constancy in action. All the effort that you can bring to it. Every time an occasion presents itself to you, go for it. Go all out, son.
Go all out assumes that you’re alive. If you’re not alive, you will not be abounding. Go all out assumes you are awake. You may have heard of the man who said, thank God for the nights in which to sleep, on the days in which to rest. Go all out means you’re alive, awake, and alert. Because the master can come at any time, or our debt can come at any time. Alert for opportunities. If at all possible, say yes to opportunities. Go all out also means that you’re active in seizing them with all the energy that you have. Because we are afraid of being burned out. We are afraid of being burned up. It’s never too late to start something new for the Lord. Go for it.
Sometime ago, I was at the 50th reunion of our high school. Was an old boys high school– at least 26 of the 268 classmates have now passed away. All of us in different shades of gray. Some of us are fully challenged. They’re basically spending time sending Whats App jokes, and they said please be in our group, we’ll clean it up for you because we know what you stand for. And I sadly wrote the words, in vain, on many of my classmates lives. In vain. Instead, I want to live a life that’s not in vain.
He says, knowing that your labor– always abounding in the labor, the work of the Lord. We come to knowing in just a moment– in the next episode. That’s work. It’s labor. It’s hardship. It’s cost. It’s effort. He’s talking about task. He’s talking about obligations. He’s talking about hardship. Work of the Lord, and labor in the Lord. This is the Lord’s work. Work in which he himself will be engaged in reaching people for himself. But also work for the Lord. Labor in the Lord.
That phrase helps me when I’m conflicted in the interior, because the Corinthians were asking the same question. They say, is this only for Christian ministers? No, no. It’s for all believers. To be engaged in the work of the Lord. That way, we will not live a life that is in vain. I have friends who say, my mission field is my company. That’s work for the Lord. I have a world-famous doctor who says, people are within my reach. I need to own my reach. That is work for the Lord. Labor in the Lord. I have another friend who says, I’ve decided that I’m going to keep on swinging until I cross home plate. That’s from another game, but it’s going all out.
Whatever the Lord has given for us to do, go all out. Your life will not be in vain.