by Steven Chan
Among the great challenges that we face are that of apathy, complacency, passivity and inaction. For some, their reading of 1 Cor 15:58 seems to be as follows: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be … immovable.” So they have not moved (over the many years that they have pledged their service to the Master) and will not move to do the work of God (let someone else do it – because they are better equipped or they have more time at their disposal).
But that passage actually reads thus: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” It requires us to steadfastly, with great energy and enthusiasm do the work of God without ceasing.
The phrase “always abounding” conveys the idea of “not spasmodically” or only whenever we feel like it, or when it is convenient to us. It implies all the time. It means always thinking about the work, talking about the work, planning the work and doing the work of God.
It also conveys the idea of “increasing and expending great energy and effort” with great abundance thereof. One commentator observed: “The phrase means not only to be engaged in this, but to be engaged diligently, laboriously; excelling in this.” Does this describe our commitment to the work of God?
In that passage, God gave us two reasons for us to be diligently doing His work.
The first reason is given at the start of the verse, “therefore”. That refers to what had been discussed in the preceding verses. God has given us the victory in Christ over sin and death as evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God has promised us the hope of the resurrection from the dead. The Bible says in Heb 2:14-15: “He Himself likewise shared in the same (flesh and blood), that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” We are set free from the enslaving fear of death and separation from loved ones. In Psalms 55:4-6, the Bible describes the fear of death:
“My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. 6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”
With the hope of the resurrection as promised by God and as demonstrated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the believer can say with the Psalmist:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”(Psa 23:1,4)
The second reason given by God is that our “work for God” will not be in vain. A lot of work that we do here on earth will not last and do not bring long lasting benefits. In John 6:27, Jesus said: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
The work of God will last throughout eternity. In John 4:34-36. “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”
Let us resolve to do the work of God diligently; the Bible says that we shall gather fruit for eternal life and rejoice together throughout eternity. Let’s be motivated to do God’s work diligently and unceasingly. For we serve the living God.