Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

“Your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord"

May 17, 2023

Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

50 This is what I’m saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood can’t inherit God’s kingdom. Something that rots can’t inherit something that doesn’t decay. 51 Listen, I’m telling you a secret: All of us won’t die, but we will all be changed— 52 in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet. The trumpet will blast, and the dead will be raised with bodies that won’t decay, and we will be changed. 53 It’s necessary for this rotting body to be clothed with what can’t decay, and for the body that is dying to be clothed in what can’t die. 54 And when the rotting body has been clothed in what can’t decay, and the dying body has been clothed in what can’t die, then this statement in scripture will happen:
Death has been swallowed up by a victory [Isaiah 25:8].
55         Where is your victory, Death?
        Where is your sting, Death? [Hosea 13:14]
(56 Death’s sting is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.) 57 Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 As a result of all this, my loved brothers, and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, who lived in a skeptical Greek society, that we can face even death with total confidence. For Paul, death did not end our service to God. It moved us on to the next chapter of (in C. S. Lewis’s phrase) “the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” * Like him, we need to look beyond our day-to-day lives to the eternal light and hope of Jesus’ resurrection.

  • “Flesh and blood” (verse 50) didn’t mean God’s kingdom isn’t for “physical people.” “When Paul uses the word ‘flesh’ and similar words he does not intend us simply to think of the ‘physical’ world… as opposed to the ‘non-physical’…. The word… refers to people or things who share the corruptibility and mortality of the world, and… certainly here, the rebellion of the world.” ** Only determined rebels against God (e.g., Romans 8:7-8) can’t reach the kingdom. What helps you focus on sharing in that kingdom, where all pain and death will be gone?
  • Paul quoted from Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14, where the prophet used an ancient form called a “taunt song” to ask, “Where is your sting, Death?” The apostles defied death because they were sure Jesus would ultimately free the world from death and suffering. That’s why Paul urged his readers to be “firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord.” How can you trust that whatever work you do for God and others “isn’t going to be for nothing,” come what may?

Lord Jesus, make and keep me firm and unshakable. Walk with me every day of this life, and then go with me on into the next chapters of the great adventure you have in store. Amen.

GPS Insights

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek serves as the Director of Discipleship at Resurrection Downtown. She loves to travel and has been to 49 states, 11 countries and lived in Vancouver, Canada for grad school! When not gallivanting all over the world, she lives in Liberty with her husband, Aaron, and two sons, Owen and Porter.

Over the past few years, my son and I have been reading The Chronicles of Narnia together at night.  I normally read out loud and he lies in bed and listens. Certain seasons we are diligent about our nightly reading and other times months might pass before we pick it up again. Sometimes I wonder if any of it lingers with him, if he realizes that we are reading a story that ultimately points to the goodness of God. Despite my wondering, I simply let the words seep in and pray they are doing some work on his heart and mind.

Recently we started reading again after one of our months-long breaks. As I opened the book, I was trying to remember what this particular story had been about. Without so much as a pause, my son started retelling me the story with surprising accuracy and nuance. I was amazed!

Moments like this help me to remember that even when we set a story down, we can always come back to it and pick it up. And isn’t that kind of how God is? I know I’ve had seasons when I’ve walked more closely with God and times when I haven’t. Times when I’ve been right in the narrative of God and times when I haven’t been able to put one word in front of another. Regardless of how I’ve felt, I know God was always there.

God’s story is so much bigger and deeper and wider than any other story I’ve read, and it is always waiting for me to pick it back up and jump right back in. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m always part of God’s story whether I feel it or not.

So just as I pray over my son as we read a story that points him toward God (whether he realizes it or not), may we also remember that we are part of God’s story. You never know what is sinking in or how it all might come to be for ourself or in others, so may we faithfully walk with God through all the chapters of our lives.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Lewis, C. S., The Last Battle: The Chronicles of Narnia (p. 211). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
** Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, Romans Part One: Chapters 1-8 (pp. 140-141). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.