1 Thessalonians 3: 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain. (NIV)
A mother walked into the bedroom of her eleven-year-old son one night to find him silently crying into his pillow. She sat down, gently rubbed his back and asked him what was wrong. Slowly, he turned to her and said something completely unexpected.
“What if it’s not real?” he sniffed. “What if God and Jesus and all of it just isn’t real?”
They were a family that had walked with Christ for several years now. In fact, only a few months ago, this same young man had expressed interest in possibly being baptized. So naturally the question took her by surprise, but only for a moment. She looked into his eyes; full of so much hope, questions, innocence and doubt for someone so young.
Then, softly she answered. “Well, it’s a decision we all have to make, and sometimes we have to make it many, many times throughout our lives.
“You have to decide whether or not the way the Scriptures ask you to live; to love one another, to live compassionately, to kindness, humility, self-control, all of that; you have to ask if that’s the way you would choose to live even if none of it were true.”
The boy thought for a moment.
“Yeah,” he said slowly, “I think I would.”
Well then,” the mother said with a smile, “whether or not it’s true is irrelevant, isn’t it? It doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t change anything for you anyway, would it?”
“No,” the boy said, “I guess not.”
“That’s right,” the mom said, her smile widening, “But, what if it is true?”
The boy cocked his head, furrowing his brow thoughtfully.
“If it is true,” the mom said, finishing his unformed thought, “It changes everything, doesn’t it?”
1 Corinthians 15: 1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)