I have a friend in Juarez, Mexico who is a native Mexican pastor of a small, poor church in the outskirts of the city. He and his beautiful family have gone where most would fear to live and have planted a thriving church that loves the Lord and that loves to share the Gospel. I had the privilege of visiting him often when I lived in Albuquerque, and there was one verse that we would often remind each other of as an encouragement when ministry was hard. First Corinthians 15:58 declares, “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.” Even now I can hear him responding, “Amen! Amen!”
There is a great truth that drives Josue and all of us as we seek to serve the Lord day in and day out. It is the simple but earth-shaking truth of the Gospel. One of the first principles of Bible study when you read a verse that says, “therefore…” is to see what the “therefore” is there for. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul has just finished an extensive chapter all about the resurrection. He begins by reminding us “…of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you…” (1 Cor. 15:1-2) This includes the death of Christ on the cross for our sins, but also His burial, resurrection, and appearances before His ascension which proved and confirmed that He was truly risen from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Later the apostle defends the bodily resurrection of believers, based on the fact that Christ has risen. He points out that if we don’t have the hope of the resurrection, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17), and that there is no real hope in Christ if we only have hope in this life (1 Cor. 15:18-19). Then Paul brings us back to this glorious, life-changing reality: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…” (1 Cor. 15:20)!
Because Christ has been raised from the dead, we are to live our lives in light of eternity (1 Cor. 15:32-34), knowing that we serve a risen King who has all authority in Heaven and on earth. Because Christ has risen, we have the sure hope of the glory of Heaven (1 Cor. 15:42-49) and the confidence that in Christ even “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). The truth of the Gospel–that in Christ my sins are forgiven and I am reconciled to God–and the reality of the resurrection, are all the motivation we need to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord! What does the resurrection have to do with ministry? Everything.