Perhaps nothing is more human than our ability to imagine. That should not surprise us. After all, humanity is created in the image of God. We are made in the likeness of the One who loves to create things out of nothing. Our core identity as God’s image bearers resonates like a plucked string when we create something new and original, something for the glory of God that serves the common good. And, there are many ways for us to express our imagination.
In today’s scripture passage… [Paul] admonishes these believers to consider the differences between lawfulness and expediency—in other words “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should, nor that it is the best course of action.” As leaders, we often have the right and the ability to do whatever we choose. However, when a team is involved, our actions affect every member of our team.
Is your team ideologically diverse? Can you say that each of your team members brings a unique flavor to the work? Do all your team members feel respected, valued, and appreciated as they are, or do they feel the need to assimilate to the dominant culture? As the leader of the vision, you should ensure that all your team members feel welcomed and supported as they are—not as you would prefer them to be.
Though I’m no scholar of Saint Patrick, I know his legacy leaves a rich bounty of lessons to consider in our modern context that go far beyond the superficial and commercialized ways that we are far too familiar with. St. Patrick, like the Apostle Paul, had a life worthy of emulation that speaks to us today… Suffering didn’t paralyze him, selflessness guided him, and sensing God’s direction was a priority.
Begin this day knowing Christ is for you, God is with you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Grow tall into the truth of what it means to be a child of the living God. And, with this truth bubbling over and spilling out on those you meet today, give others the gift of believing them into the fulfillment of their possibilities, too.
Our labor, whatever it might be, is not meaningless or worthless because God gives it meaning and worth.
According to 1 Corinthians 15:58, we can have confidence in this truth, and this confidence inspires us to give ourselves fully to our work. We know that, in God’s future, the work we do will take on eternal significance. It will matter to God and will be well-used in God’s plans.
As people inspired by the hope of God’s future, we are to be “abounding” in God’s work. We “abound” in God’s work when we “give ourselves fully to it.” But “abounding,” especially given its usage elsewhere in Paul’s letters, also implies that God’s work is happening in us. We are able to give ourselves fully to God’s work only because God is working in us. God’s Spirit motivates and empowers us for all of this work. In a sense, 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because the Lord is already fully at work in you.”
What we see first in Genesis is reiterated through the Bible. The “work of the Lord” includes but is not limited to things like evangelism, discipleship, worship, and prayer. From a full biblical perspective, the “work of the Lord” encompasses all that we do to embody God’s purposes for us. It includes what we do for most of our waking lives, as we labor in our workplaces, raise our children, invest in our neighborhoods, and gather with God’s people for weekly worship.
1 Corinthians 15 reveals life beyond what can be found “under the sun.” In this chapter, human life matters. Physical life matters. Our bodies matter. But there is reality beyond material reality. There is more to life than the life we experience today. One day, in God’s future, “the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (15:52).
In this Life for Leaders devotion, I want to focus on labor, that is, on the work we do. As I was thinking about what to write for today, I was reminded of a verse in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (15:58).