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Let Nothing Move You

By Sam K. John, Bangalore

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor 15:58)

In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul gives an exposition of the mystery of the resurrection. After explaining what will happen to our bodies after our death and the glorious hope that all of us have in Christ, he concludes with a very practical aspect in verse 58.

Paul was an amazing theologian and a prolific writer. God used him to reveal some of the wonderful mysteries of God through his written work. Yet, he was a very practical person, for he knew that life on this earth is a tough one. He writes this to Corinthians as an exhortation and encouragement.

Let’s read the same verse in another translation. “Oh, 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.”

‘Let nothing move you’; let nothing stop you from serving the Lord, let nothing rob you of your zeal and joy of serving Christ in His vineyard. When Paul wrote this exhortation, he knew from his own experience that we live in a broken world where the fallen effects of sin have a possibility of affecting us at every turn of our lives.

Shaking Stories

‘Let nothing move you’. A few months ago I happened to stay at the home of an evangelist whom I knew earlier, but for the first time I was staying overnight with them. They have a child who is bedridden since birth for the last 32 years. Can you imagine the daily struggle that happens in that family? Here is an evangelist family, husband and wife called to serve the Lord; they have a child bedridden totally dependent on them for 32 years. I happened to hear as a passing remark from that dear brother, though not with any regret, “It has been years, since me and my wife together went for a conference”, because they have a child to take care of.

There are many other things in all of our lives that we don’t share with other people. Some of the burdens we carry, some of the crosses we are called to bear, we don’t share with others. We don’t want to make ourselves look vulnerable, but everyone reading this will have a similar story to share.

I remember attending a conference a few years ago. Among the 30 people participating, there was a director of a worldwide organization, which has ministry in 130 countries. During the time of prayer, he stood up and started to cry. As tears flowed down his cheeks he was pleading with the Lord’s people saying, “Brethren, I want to you to pray for my daughter who is grown up and married but not yet in the Lord.”

Can you imagine the pain and hurt of this man who moves around the world preaching the gospel, taking efforts to win others for Christ? But in his own home, there is an unsaved person; how much hurt and disappointment that servant faces!

I don’t know how many of you have heard this about William Carrey. Today we all talk about his achievements, but those who have gone through his biography will know that every day when he returned to his home, William Carey was struggling to take care of his wife who was mentally derailed. How can one have such a life and not be shaken?

It is true; our love for Christ motivates us to be faithful to Him. But consider this; some of us are called to serve the Lord in the midst of pain, suffering, and difficulty. I don’t know what is your pain and troubles, but God in His sovereignty appointed some of us to carry severe burdens.

The question is how do you remain faithful in service in spite of the daily discouragement, tormenting, and hurt? How do you keep the zeal for service and move on forward? Paul’s exhortation is, ‘Brethren, let nothing move you – always abound in the work of the Lord’.

Example of Paul

Paul was not writing this as an ivory tower theologian. He wrote from his own experiences. When we look at his life, at every turn of his life Paul faced so many discouragements. For example, from Acts 22 onwards we see that he was arrested and on his own request taken to Rome, where he was waiting for the trial. In Acts 28 we read about him preaching the gospel and giving leadership to churches, now confined to a room being under house arrest, but he did not allow this sudden crisis to dampen his spirit.

Just as he wrote to the Corinthians that nothing should move them, he showed from his own experience, that he did not allow such circumstances to move or shake him. In Acts 28:30, 31 we read, “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (ESV)

How do you do that? All of a sudden life changes from good to bad, from positive to negative, how do you make quick adjustments? How do you not allow the devil to rob your zeal and boldness?

Paul is an example. Although confined to a room, he welcomed all, doing an amazing ministry, receiving them with gladness, encouraging them, and sharing the gospel with the soldiers. He did not waste a single moment. He used the time in confinement to write letters of edification and encouragement to individuals and the churches he planted. There are many things we can learn from Paul.

What an amazing example! Let nothing move you; always give yourselves for the work of the Lord fully, in spite of the disappointments and trials. You can continue serving the Lord zealously because “You know your labour in the Lord is not vain”. In spite of all kinds of difficulties, continue to hold on, and proceed forward with the grace of God, but why? Whatever you do, even in the midst of your pain, and suffering, is not in vain. God uses it all for His glory.

Perhaps, many of us may be serving in pioneering places where we don’t have much encouragement. You may not see the fruit of your labour, or when we compare our work with others there may be a lot of discouragement. Paul is saying here, “look, your labour is not in vain, whatever you do for the Lord is not in vain.”

Story of Joy Ridderhof

Let me conclude with a story that will encourage each one of us. There was a young woman called, Joy Ridderhof. She was a North American who had committed her life to the service of the Lord. She wanted to go to an unreached place to serve the Lord faithfully. The Lord took her to a Central American country called HONDURAS. That was her mission field. She started serving the Lord. Within a few years, she became sick and could not continue serving the Lord. Finally, she had to return to her native place. Even after returning to her native place, her zeal for the Lord was so much that she wanted to do something for the people of HONDURAS.

As she prayerfully waited for the Lord’s guidance, she got the idea to record a song and bible passage on a Gramophone record and pass it on to the people of HONDURAS. She called some of her friends and said, “I will record, and can you take it to my people in HONDURAS?” They complied; the villagers of HONDURAS welcomed the recordings with much excitement. They sought more and asked for more gramophone records.

Eventually, in 1939 along with some of her friends, Joy started an organization called Gospel Recordings International to reach the world with the gospel of Christ. By the time she died in 1984 at the age of 81, that organization had produced gospel materials in 4000 languages.

For your labor in the midst of your difficulty is not in vain. One day, as Paul writes, in that glorious morning, when we all wake up, then we shall meet our Lord face to face, then comes the time when the real worth of our labor for Him will be revealed. There will be great joy on that day for those who laboured under trials and tribulations. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:8.

May the Lord help us to press on in spite of whatever we are going through, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

(This article is the edited transcript of the devotion message shared by the writer during the recently concluded GFTI conference in Chennai.)


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