Have you ever bought something that was “guaranteed for life” and discovered way too late that the exclusions hidden in the fine print made the guarantee worthless? I bought some brake pads once that were guaranteed for the life of the car. When they wore out in less than two years, I took them back to get replacements. “Oh,” the salesperson said, “that guarantee doesn’t cover normal wear.” I’m still not sure what the warranty actually covered, probably something like, “Pads will be replaced at a prorated cost if performance is affected due to vehicle plunging into a large vat of sorghum molasses after colliding with a rabid camel.”
A Lesson Worth Sharing ~
I did come away from that transaction with a memorable reminder, though, and I’ll share it with you at no extra cost. “Never let the flashy sales brochure distract you from reading the fine print.” The fine print is where a great sounding guarantee can be reduced to more worthless fodder for your shredder.
It’s important to remember that guarantees are nothing more than promises, and like all promises, guarantees are only as reliable as the integrity of the one offering them. And the more valuable the thing being ensured, the more vital it is to know who is guaranteeing to preserve it, and whether he, or they, have the resources, the authority, and the intent to back it up.
Trustworthy Guarantees Needed ~
This issue is worth considering as we approach Labor Day 2020, because we have arrived at a point where we have to take our journey through life off “cruise control”. Things we’ve trusted in all of our lives are disappearing or being abandoned and we have decisions to make. Things we thought were virtually guaranteed are being systematically stripped away from us. Institutions, agencies, policies, and people we relied on to protect and preserve our way of life are being dismantled, disabled, or totally destroyed. Our present is uncertain and our future is as nebulous as a mirage in the desert. We need guarantees that can’t be invalidated, corrupted, stolen, or burned up in the name of some made-up cause or manufactured outrage.
Thankfully, guarantees like that do exist, guarantees that have emerged unscathed after overcoming every scheme, conspiracy, and frontal assault that the combined forces of hell and a corrupt world system could produce. And it’s comforting to know that God, who alone makes such guarantees, isn’t intimidated by the arrogant and ignorant claims of those who mock His principles and deny His very existence. The cowardly mobs rampaging through our cities screaming obscenities as they steal, burn, or destroy everything they can get their hands on have no impact on Him. His unassailable, indestructible, and fireproof guarantees stand firm, and He has handled attacks from much more powerful sources than they represent.
After reminding his readers that every follower of Jesus shares in His triumphant resurrection, the Apostle Paul delivered an admonition and a guarantee that we sorely need, especially as we celebrate Labor Day. He said:
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. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)
An Amazing Transformation ~
God’s incredible guarantee of eternal life means that the dread specter of the grave has been transformed from a dark door slamming shut on us forever to a doorway through which we will enter an endless and glorious future. The life He offers doesn’t just go on, it explodes into a world of unimaginable beauty, indescribable peace, perfect harmony, and love with no grief or loss. That brings to mind an interesting question.
If such a future could be ensured by human effort, what would people be willing to do, and how hard would they work to earn it? People already go to extraordinary lengths and make incredible sacrifices in the hope of extending their lives a few months or years. So, how much energy would they expend to achieve eternal life, physical perfection, relational bliss, and extravagant prosperity?
A Deeper Look ~
But since earning that dream really is impossible, there’s a more relevant question to ask. What level of devotion might seem appropriate if all of it was simply given as a gift, with no physical labor required on our part? To what lengths would we go, and how hard might we be willing to work to try to express gratitude that is inexpressible? Paul’s choice of words in his admonition sheds some light on the kind of response that would be pleasing to God and most fulfilling to us.
- Therefore — The admonition that follows is based on the fact that the eternal life God offers us has already been secured. That was settled for us the moment we simply placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, but it brings an expectation along with it.
- Always — The work we’re admonished to do is not to be considered a once in a while sideline. It’s something that goes on continuously, all the time, every day. It isn’t a one or two hour routine we plug in whenever we feel like it.
- Abounding — This word describes a level of personal commitment that exceeds expectations. It’s an approach to work that expands boundaries, re-writes job descriptions, refines objectives, and draws new recruits.
- In the work — This phrase indicates that the work isn’t imaginary or vicarious. It’s very real and it’s personal. Sometimes the days feel long, the tasks are hard, and sometimes we stumble and fall, but that’s why He calls it work. We aren’t sent to plan parties and perfect our mix-and-mingle persona.
- Of the Lord — Selfish motives have no place in this work we’re sent to do. When the One we serve is lifted up, every servant rises up with Him and in Him. There is no higher place in life to stand than the ground we stand on with Him.
- Knowing that your labor is not in vain — Paul adds yet another guarantee . . . Our work will never be overlooked, forgotten, worthless, wasted, or empty, and that is not something we hope for, imagine, or fantasize about. It’s something we “know”. It’s guaranteed. When we do anything for Him, our time clock is punched, our efforts are counted, and our record is indelibly etched and permanently sealed in Heaven. The One who holds us in His heart and our breath in His hands won’t forget even a single cold glass of water offered in His name — ever.
Workers Are Desperately Needed ~
Labor Day will be tough for millions of our countrymen who have lost their jobs and for millions more who are uncertain about whether their careers will survive. Life is challenging, guarantees are few, and trust is on shaky ground but there’s more we can do than just hang on and hope for better times. God sent us to do more than simply adapt to the world. He sent us to change it. This culture needs more than an economic resurgence, we desperately need a spiritual and moral revival and that requires personal involvement. Jesus keeps a “Help Wanted” sign on permanent display and His workforce in this country has never been in greater need.
If God’s promise of life in Jesus Christ isn’t yours already, there is no more important decision facing you than your response to Him. But for all who have claimed His promise, it’s time to show up for work, time to stand up, speak up, and reach out to others. If you’re not already on board, you can start today and work from anywhere. Coworkers are like family where the environment is loving, social distancing is frowned upon, masks are forbidden, open expression is honored, and the internet trolls have no influence. Best of all, benefits are guaranteed forever, and there’s no fine print.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly to this article through Twitter.
“The life that God offers doesn’t just go on, it explodes into a world of unimaginable beauty, indescribable peace, perfect harmony, and love with no grief or loss.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
“Selfish motives have no place in this work we’re sent to do. When the One we serve is lifted up, every servant rises up with Him and in Him. There is no higher place in life to stand than the ground we stand on with Him.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
“Our record is indelibly etched and permanently sealed in Heaven. The One who holds us in His heart and our breath in His hands won’t forget even a single cold glass of water offered in His name — ever.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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