April 17, 2020
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Paul has, so far, been talking to the Corinthian church about the resurrection of the dead, and more specifically, Jesus’s resurrection. These verses begin a broader application of this truth—specifically that we must begin to live with an eternal perspective. He goes so far as to say that if our hope in Christ is only for our earthly life, we should be pitied. Paul continues by contrasting the legacy of death in Adam to the eternal life available through Jesus. In later verses he calls the church to face everything from an eternal perspective—whether it’s physical death, wild beasts, or the choice to keep on sinning.
I find some comfort in knowing that, only a few years removed from Jesus’s actual physical presence, people were already struggling to maintain an eternal perspective in their daily lives. They were probably as caught up as you and I in the need for food, clothing, meaningful relationships, gainful employment, or entertainment. Thankfully Paul reminds us of the broader picture. His admonition is to keep an eternal perspective in everything we do. As we have asked several times this week, how do your daily choices change in light of the uncomfortable truth of eternity? Does getting your way in an argument really matter if you consider eternity as your new reality? We, of all people, should be the most gracious, the most patient, the most sacrificing. What is a small personal cost when measured against eternity?
Today, measure your actions against a new standard—the standard of eternal life. Allow yourself to be challenged and humbled by both sides of the reality. On one hand, your daily choices make almost no impact on God’s eternal plan. The inconvenience of social distancing or the choice to be generous aren’t giant stepping stones in God’s master plan. You and I have very, very small parts to play. On the other hand, your choices are building your character for eternity. Who you are becoming now is part of your eternal legacy. Every choice makes a very, very significant difference. Try to live in the tension of holding what you do very loosely, while holding who you are (in other words: how you do things) with the tightest of grips.