Wednesday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:58—16:24 (NKJV)
15:58 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.
16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
5 Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). 6 And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.
13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
15 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us. 17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 The salutation with my own hand—Paul’s.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Although our readings this week pass over most of 1 Corinthians 15, it is that chapter’s resurrection assurance that moves the apostle to say, “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.”
Since Christ has defeated death for us and promised eternal life to us, nothing we do here on earth is lost. No work is pointless. No sacrifice will be forgotten. No labor for the kingdom of God will go unrewarded. St. John refers to this in Revelation 14:13, “‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.'”
What does Paul include here among such works? Weekly offerings set aside to help the saints. Hospitality shown to fellow Christians. Honor, respect, and submission shown to ministers of Christ. Constancy in faith and doctrine. Bravery in the face of opposition or affliction. Love that touches all we do. Such things will never perish, for Christ’s members will never perish.
What will perish are the deeds of those who do not love the Lord Jesus. “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.” This seems like a striking way for Paul to close his epistle to the Corinthians, but it is a fitting reminder that our labors are only pleasing to the Lord through faith in Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Those who reject the friendship-love of Jesus should and will be condemned.
We pray: O risen Lord Jesus, establish the work of our hands, that all our doings in life may please You now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.