Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-58, Philippians 1:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Texans are obsessed with our state flower, the bluebonnet. Bluebonnets are wildflowers that bloom in early spring. For several weeks each season, they line our interstates and take over our fields. They are a sudden flower, nowhere to be seen for months and months and then, suddenly, they are everywhere. They don’t space out their arrival. It feels like they decide to bloom all at once. And overnight, Texas is a sea of blue.
This is why I was surprised to learn that if you want to plant bluebonnets to bloom in the spring, experts suggest planting the seeds in late summer or early fall. Though it looks like the wildflowers appear overnight, they are actually growing beneath the soil for months.
I thought of the bluebonnets while reading Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15, when he compares our resurrection to seeds being sown: “So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body” (vv. 42-44). In the resurrection, we will be completely transformed, and Paul says this change will happen suddenly, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (vv. 51–52).
My temptation when reading these words is to look forward to the change to come, and ignore my need to change now. Great, I think, in the end when I am resurrected, all will be well. I will be the person I was made to be. I, and the entire world, will be restored and redeemed.
But the last verse of this chapter suggests another way to think about this sudden change. Paul says, “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (v.58).
The instruction isn’t, “Therefore, sit back and relax, it’ll all be okay in the end.” The instruction is, “Therefore keep working, steadfastly, immovably, excelling at the Lord’s work because none of this is in vain.” The change to come will seem sudden, but really, just as the bluebonnet is sown in fall to bloom in spring, we will have been working toward change all along.
This is incredibly convicting for me. This is incredibly convicting for the church. We have been sown, and now we must do the hard work of growing. This is the Lord’s work: we care for the poor. We work toward reconciliation. We confess. We repent. We forgive. And we do all of this now because we know it is not in vain. What the Lord plants, He will grow. The work He begins, He will complete (Philippians 1:6).
So today, may we look toward our final resurrection, made possible through the resurrection of Christ, with great hope. But let’s not allow our hope for the future to distract us from the work at hand. There is much to do. Therefore, let’s be steadfast, immovable, and excel at the Lord’s work on earth, knowing we may not see all the fruit of our labor now, but all will be in bloom when the trumpet sounds.