“Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding”1 Cor 15:58
If you just change “abounding” to “stay positive,” it would almost sound as though Paul is very up to date: he tells us to stay home, stay inside, and yet remain positive. We have all become good “soldiers” obeying orders and doing it as those who are “subject to principalities and powers … magistrates … ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1). As Christians, it is our responsibility to comply with governments when we are not compromising our consciences. So, we stay home, stay in, and do our very best to remain positive.
But Paul has something greater in view. He gives us a basis not only for being steadfast and unmovable, but for being both positive and abounding. He tells us of the great prospect of resurrection and coming glory. It is thrilling to think of the great contrast between “now” and “then” when it comes to our bodies. We are currently living in bodies marked by corruption, weakness, dishonor, and “soul” domination. We are going to one day have bodies not subject to age and disease; they will be bodies of glory and of power; they will be bodies dominated by a God-consciousness. All that is assured by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine a body that can move from place to place without needing a vehicle or even time! Imagine bodies that will pulsate with life as never before. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul tell us that Christ died for us “that we should live together with Him” (1 Thess 5:10). It may be that we have no idea of what “real life” is like until we arrive there.
In the meantime, we are to be steadfast in our faith, unmovable in our confidence in God, and abounding in the work of the Lord.
I hear someone say, “How can I abound in the work of the Lord when I can’t even leave my house?” A good question. Paul was chained to soldiers for possibly up to eight years near the end of his life. Yet he seemed to abound. He wrote letters, he prayed, he witnessed when he was able. There have likely been few lives and periods of times which have had the eternal weight that the years of confinement that the years Paul spent as a prisoner have had. He “abounded” in every circumstance. He was the man who wrote, “I know both how to be abased and how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have been instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil 4:12). Paul “abounded” in every circumstance. And so should we!
It is really only a little while until we arrive at our real home where we will be happy to “shelter in place.” The resurrection of Christ has helped us to know how the story is going to end. We have read the last page and now how it all works out.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13. It has been called the most successful failure in NASA’s history. Everyone knows the famous quote, “Houston, we have a problem,” as the lunar module suddenly experienced the explosion. As the awareness of their danger rose, there was, however, another quote. As the spacecraft orbited around the moon, the goal shifted from landing on the moon to the question that Jim Lowell, one of the astronauts asked, “How do we get home?”
We know we are going home, and we know how we are going to get home. But in the short interim, “be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding (be positive) in the work of the Lord.”