(1 Corinthians 15:58)
I just love this verse. It fills me with both comfort and encouragement because it is good to know that your work is both appreciated and valuable.
Anyone who does any kind of work for the Lord should also take comfort in these words.
They are words of hope because they tell us we are valued for what we are doing in the service of the Lord. The highest calling any person can have is to serve others. And there is no higher call than to serve the Lord God and His son Jesus Christ.
What Things ARE in Vain?
Pretty much everything to do with this world is in vain. Every pursuit of man other than the pursuit of God and the things of God, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ, are in vain.
The pursuit of riches and wealth is vanity of the highest order, especially if those resources are employed for vain reasons. It is one thing to have a great deal of wealth, and there is no sin in being wealthy, but the bible also teaches us that the pursuit of wealth can be dangerous and thus is in vain. It is the “love of money” that is the root of all evil as Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:10.
All work in this world is in vain because it leads to little. Even the most valued professions like doctors and lawyers are in vain because they will not even be required in the next age.
Solomon, who was perhaps the wisest man that ever lived wrote about it this way.
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. 8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. – (Ecclesiastes 1:2-9)
Even our life is in vain while we live on this earth, if we do not spend it seeking God.
What needs to be understood by all people is that this life is temporary. This world is temporary and everything in it is here for only a short time.
Everything will wear out and in time will disappear back to dust.
What is NOT in vain
So having stated all of these things, is this a cause for depression or sadness? No it is not.
Knowledge is valuable if you know how to apply it. And in the case of this life we need to know these things…that all things pertaining to this physical world and the flesh and desires of mankind are in vain. Because when we recognise the vanity of this life, we can begin to understand the things that are not in vain.
What is it that lasts forever? The only thing that is truly eternal is the kingdom of God because God is eternal. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will not ever fade away because they last from everlasting to everlasting.
So if the kingdom of God is the only thing that is not in vain, what is important is to find out how to get into it. If people do not want to live this life of vanity where they live a while, work, marry, have children and then die, only to have the cycle repeated in the next generation, and the next and so on, then they need to learn how to break this cycle of vanity.
I have long maintained that this life we have been given is directed towards only one purpose. We are given this life to do one thing and to make one decision. That decision then determines whether we live a life of vanity, like so many in this world have chosen, or a life of purpose.
The one decision all mankind is asked to make is: will you seek God in your life or not. It could also be stated as: whose side are you on, the side of God that leads to eternal life or the devil that leads to stern all destruction.
These are the choices. One path leads to vanity and the other leads to life.
And the great thing about choosing the path that leads to eternity with Christ, is that when we serve Him, our lives in this vain world are no longer lives of vanity. As this scripture today says,
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58)
It is in the service of the Lord that we work. Everything we do in His service and in His name has value and purpose. Our life is not in vain when it is spent doing the will of God because not only will we receive entry into the kingdom of God, while we are here serving Him we are also helping and encouraging others to find the path of truth.
These things are not vanity because they are spiritually motivated, unlike the things of this world that are motivated by the flesh. When we choose the Lord, we choose the path of righteousness, and His ways are never in vain.
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