Several years ago, a survey was conducted in which people 95 years old or older were asked the following question: “What would you change if you could live your life over?” Here are their top three responses: (3) I would reflect more (i.e., slow down and think more deeply about things); (2) I would take more risks, more chances (i.e., try to be more adventurous); and (1) I would try to do more things that would outlive myself (i.e., do something of lasting significance). So said the 95-year-olds.
It’s interesting how the reality of impending death has a way of getting people in touch with the deeper issues of life. And, really, we don’t have to be 95 for that to sink in. A 30-year-old man who was dying of leukemia once said in the midst of his own pain and suffering, “I really don’t think people are afraid of death. What they’re afraid of is the incompleteness of their life.” Indeed, too many people are plagued by that gnawing sense of not having accomplished what they thought they would accomplish before leaving the planet.
Among believers, this dynamic is often the case regarding church work, too. Let’s face it, serious Christian service and church ministry is often hard, time-consuming, thankless, subject to criticism, and—most of the time—pro bono. It’s volunteer work that often goes unrecognized and therefore (we think) unappreciated.
If you’ve ever had that sense of, “What have I really accomplished in my service to Christ and his church?,” you might receive a tremendous amount of encouragement from the three passages highlighted in this message:
- Jesus said in John 12:26, “My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
- Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
- The author said in Hebrews 6:10, “God…will not forget your work.”
Pastors might forget your work. Church staff might forget your work. Ministry leaders might forget your work. You might even forget your work, but God will not forget your work!
This message looks at two instructions Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 15:58 that help us live a life of significance as believers: (1) Make your life count by standing firm in Christ (15:58a); and (2) Make your life count by serving fully in Christ (15:58b). In other words, make your life count by trusting and serving Christ. Incredible gifts await those who trust and serve the Lord (cf. Revelation 2-3), so live a life of significance for him. Just don’t wait till you’re 95 to do it!
Lord of the Rings Video Clip 1: “I Can Carry You”
Lord of the Rings Video Clip 2: “You Bow to No One”
Contact This New Life directly for the sermon audio file.