Do you ever wonder if it’s all worth it? I’m talking about the Christian life – is it worth giving up so much time and energy and money to be involved in church life? Or would it be more worth your while to concentrate on having as much ‘fun’ and enjoyment in your life as possible? After all, you only get one life so better make the most of it!
As I’ve re-read 1 Corinthians 15 over Easter it seems to me that Paul is tackling the issue of whether it’s all worth it. The chapter finishes with these words: “Always give yourself to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (v58)
Possibly the Corinthian Christians were criticising Paul and saying that his gospel didn’t offer enough rewards in this life. As far as they could see Paul spent all his time travelling the world preaching a message that didn’t seem to pay him many dividends. They looked at him and saw that he had little or no money to spend on himself and the world gave him no recognition or praise; in fact, Paul frequently found himself in trouble with the authorities. “Was your gospel really worth it Paul?”
And Paul’s answer is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Effectively Paul concedes that Christianity doesn’t pay great dividends in this life – at least, not in terms of the things that the world values. But after this life we have the hope of a glorious, imperishable life with God – a life that Jesus himself is already enjoying – a life that he will share with us. And so earlier in the chapter we have these verses: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (vs 14 & 20)
And so Paul urges his Corinthian readers not to give up on the gospel but give themselves fully to the Christian life. And I urge you to do the same. It really is worth it.
Yours in Christ