January 11th 2016 1 comment so far
I must be the champion of short-term resolutions. I can do anything—for about 30 days. Fueled by excitement, I rapidly gain speed toward a shiny new goal…then just as rapidly tire and give up on it. Even if I do press on, I have lost the spring in my step that I had at the start. Certainly, the beginning of each new year reminds me of this trait in myself, as talk of goals and resolutions flood our lives.
During our first all-staff meeting of 2016, Pastor Chuck shared with us the following verse:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” –1 Corinthians 15:58, NASB
Thinking about this verse has left me asking, “What does it take to always abound? To never grow weary?” There is no room for tiring or quitting in that verse. It does not evoke the image of people who sprint off at the gun and fall behind halfway through the race. Paul is calling readers to be devoted to God’s work to the point of being immovable, untouchable, unstoppable. But how do we achieve that kind of persistence?
To me, “knowing your toil is never in vain” is the vital outlook—we can only remain steadfast if we maintain an eternal perspective of our daily work. If we forget the finish line, if we lose sight of the fact that the Lord’s work in us is achieving eternal victory, we will grow weary. We will trudge along the path. The pain of our worn out muscles and aching joints will seem worthless.
In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes “If we live without an eternal perspective, earthly trials become larger than life. Without the hope of heaven or the sense of the importance of a growing character and refinement, there is nothing to prepare for, nothing to look forward to; it is like practicing and practicing, but never getting to actually play a game.” Though Thomas in this instance was referring to maintaining a sense of eternity while serving in a marriage, I think this applies to any long-term endeavor.
We aren’t asked to strive for perfection that we will never achieve; Jesus already won that prize and imparted its rewards to us through His death and resurrection. We cannot earn the grace our Father has already given, but we humbly serve Him in gratitude, knowing every bit of struggle will be worth it when we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21) at the end of our journey on this earth.
The resolution we set as the Stonebriar staff, and a resolution I hope to keep in all areas of my life, is to make 2016 a year of abounding, and with the Spirit keeping our eyes on the goal of heaven, I believe we can do just that.
Happy New Year, and I hope you will join us.
Written by Patricia Krecklow
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