1 Corinthians 15:58

Monday, September 08, 2008
I never would have guessed last night when I posted 1 Corinthians 15:58 how much it would mean to me today. I posted it last night because I happened to read it, and I thought it was cool, so I posted it. But today it changed everything...

This story starts a few weeks ago when Kory (the pastor at the church that I work for) saw a YouTube Video about a pastor having an interview with Satan. Kory wanted to copy the idea and do it ourselves, but talking about issues that we are dealing with (hard hitting issues like parking!).

Anywho, Kory wanted to show the video this weekend, so Thursday we went up to the parsonage and taped Kory talking to Joe (the choir director), who was dressed as Satan. It went great. It was funny, and it made its point. Over the next few days I edited the video and had it ready to run for today's service. I wasn't running the service this morning, so I came to the 11:15 service (the only reason I came was to see people's reaction to the video... I am only half kidding...). Anywho, they didn't play the video during the announcements like I thought that they would. They didn't play it before the sermon, or during the sermon. I started getting worried. "Was the DVD bad, did they not like it?"

During communion, I was able to push aside my worries, and I thought about the passage in 1st Corinthians, so I opened a pew Bible and I found it:

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

(Notice that this quote is from the NRSV, what we have as pew Bibles, while the one I posted last night was from the NIV)

I love how Paul uses the word "immoveable". "Be steadfast, be immoveable, always excel in the work of the Lord." It is a beautiful passage, and may just become my favorite verse in the Bible... no, wait, I have just made an executive decision, it is now my favorite verse in the Bible (my favorite chapter is Psalm 73... look it up and read it!).

Anywho, after communion we sang a song and the service was over. No video. Not happy. I went and talked to Carter who was running the sound booth and he said "They hadn't seen it yet and decided to not show it." I got a little peeved because I had e-mailed Kory three versions of the video on Friday and Saturday, but apparently he hadn't checked his e-mail to see it before Sunday.

On the way home I was getting pretty angry. They didn't show a video even when I drove all the way out there just to see people's reaction to it (ha). We taped on Thursday so that we could get it done by Sunday, I worked all day Friday and Saturday just to get it done by Sunday... All of this in vain, because they didn't show it. I was feeding my anger and it just grew. I knew that it shouldn't anger me, but it still did!

I was getting all worked up about it, until I remembered the verse in 1st Corinthians. The first half of the verse says "Be steadfast, be immoveable", but the second half says "...you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." And I just became peaceful about the whole situation. Sure they didn't show the video today, but they still plan on showing it next week. And sure I hurried to get it done by this Sunday, but I had nothing better to those days, so it worked out well that I was forced to work on it, while it was completely possible that otherwise I would have procrastinated and pushed editing the video until last minute later this week.

But all of the above reasons were selfish reasons to be angry in the first place. It made me realize that I was editing the video because I wanted to see people's reaction to it, I wanted the self-gratification of my work. Remembering the verse reminded me that I didn't do that work for myself, I did the work for God, thus no matter the outcome, the work by definition was not in vain. Even if this video is never shown, the work was still worth it, because I was working for the Lord.

So if you ever volunteer, or give money to an organization, or help out God's kingdom in any way and it doesn't turn out like you thought it would, don't despair, don't get angry, mad, or upset, remember that the work that you did was for the Lord, THUS it was not in vain.



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