1 Corinthians 15:58b – Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
It is very interesting how Paul’s whole discourse on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 ends with the exhortation that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. The word ‘labor’ is referring to the work of ministry that Paul and all of God’s people have endeavored with their lives on the line. The Word ‘vain’ in its original language means: empty, foolish, worthless, and meaningless. Hence, Paul makes clear that because of the resurrection, our labor in the Lord is never left empty-handed, fruitless, or wasted years of effort.
On a deeper level, Paul is addressing the deep fear that has plagued all of humanity – that our work is ultimately meaningless and vain, as described in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Sin has rendered life and work meaningless, for everyone has been subject to the same ending—sin and death. This has been the inescapable reality—that is until the resurrection, where Christ’s victory has swallowed up the power of sin and death. As those who belong to Christ, the reason why our work is not in vain is because of the Resurrection!
Lord we thank you that our work for your kingdom is not in vain, for you have conquered sin and death. You have given us meaning and purpose. We commit ourselves afresh in laboring in love for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.