Welcome to Welling for your spiritual well-being and ministry overflowing. This series, in vain or not in vain, resembles the soliloquy of the other six words of, to be or not to be. This is far more meaningful because you are going to be all in the first idiom from 1 Corinthians 15:38, and you’re going to go all out so that your life will not be in vain.
It actually says, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Put a big, big red circle around it. Knowing, remember, you can be sure, not only about the resurrection, but when you apply the resurrection in your life, you’ve received it, and now you live in the sphere of the resurrection, and the strategy of the Resurrection, to bring many, many people to him. Your life will have eternal weight. It’ll have eternal return, eternal recompense, eternal reward. What an incredible statement and a promise.
You can be engaged fully. Be all in, go all out, and you shall never live a life that’s wasted. You’ll never live a life that’s weightless, and meaningless, and useless, and fruitless. You know, many of us live every decision by what is called a cost-benefit analysis. That is sort of the subtle ability of the human being to see, hey, what is the cost of an endeavor, and what are the benefits from the endeavor? Now, working for the Lord is not a sheer business decision, because most of the benefits are only apparent, we’re not sure or clear. Most of the benefits are not measurable right now. They’re externally invisible. We can’t assign monetary value, at this point, to the internal costs.
But the Apostle Paul says, the life that is not lived in vain. You can make some valid assumptions. By giving your full effort, there is going to be an unbelievable, unimaginable return, because you’re starting beyond the end. It is worth enduring in the present for disproportionate returns, beyond your expectation. In the original, the phrase, the Lord, ends the whole verse. Meaning, he is the emphasis. He’s the owner, the commander, the master, of the sovereign, and the reward bringer.
It is even more important than the phrase not in vain. It’s the climactic end. If he is the Lord, he takes priority, and he takes notice. He knows you. And because he takes priority in your life, you can actually make the others much, much important. Your family, your ministry, your vocation, really important because you’re doing it all for the Lord. In that way, you will know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Be all in, my friend, without reservation, convinced in the Lord’s resurrection work for you. Go all out without hesitation, committed to your abounding work for the Lord. You will lead the factual life. You will lead a fruitful life.
When my father died, we had four services for him, two in the US and two in India. The last service was at our church where we grew up. Right after his Memorial service, within five minutes, I had to speak at the evening service of the congregation, and suddenly everything changed. From a mournful, grieving time of memory, my father’s life, because of where he is now, and what I’d heard from him all my life, to be all in and go all out, changed, and I was empowered by God’s spirit to give a message which people said was of a heightened energy and heightened impact.
Soon after, I wrote a line which went this way, resolved to be all in, to go all out. Resolved to be all in, to go all out. And then it went, to do all I should with all I have until I no longer can. To do all I should, not all I want, to do all I should, not all I can, to do all I should with all I have. I’ve got to be all in, go all out, until I no longer can.
It is a resolution which I visit over and over again, because at the end of my life, I don’t want to say I lived in vain, but I want others to say, and especially the Lord to say, it was not in vain, not in vain. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. The NIV life.