Easter was a happy day. The kids ran around as usual, but the little girls’ Easter dresses added some welcome color to the room. And there was that one little boy with the bow tie that could’ve made Darth Vader smile.
The worship team was on point. And the song list! You’re still humming the lyrics to the first one. The sermon was exactly what you needed to hear—the resurrection of Jesus helps us be “unstuck” in our lives. You felt inspired.
You went home and ate a delicious meal with the people you love. The new recipe you tried was a hit. The extra helping of pie for dessert was definitely worth it and the leftover chocolate eggs sitting on the counter were not unwelcome.
But now it’s Monday. The alarm clock this morning was about as welcome as a wet dog in your bed. In fact, you might have preferred the dog. The sky’s dark like the coffee brewing in the kitchen. If the weatherman is right, it’ll rain today. Again. The Easter ham is all cut up in the fridge. It’ll be your lunch for the next week. There’s a few extra dishes in the sink you’re trying to ignore.
The coffee is starting to wake you up, but it’s not changing your apathetic mood. It’s not that you hate the world. It’s just the start of another Monday. Another week at work with meetings and reports to write, another week of physical therapy appointments and soccer games, another week of trips to the grocery store because you ran out of toilet paper again, another week of freezer meals and spaghetti, another week of trying to get to your Gospel Community on time, another week of church to remind you there’s something more before returning to the craziness once again. It’s not bad. It’s just normal.
Easter is about new birth, new beginnings.
But here you are, just remembering your dentist appointment is on Wednesday at 2 pm. You’re not complaining, but it’s a bit anti-climactic after Easter Sunday’s spiritual high.
If you’re like me, you’re stretched thin in your own little world. We know there’s more to life than paying the bills and making good use of our Netflix subscriptions. We honestly desire to serve God and find some time in our unforgiving schedules to squeeze in a shift in Redeemer Kids. We might even say yes when a friend asks us to help them deliver a meal to someone in need. But if we’re honest, in the end it doesn’t feel like the fulfillment of Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations. There’s so much more to do for Christ, but we’re struggling just to read a Psalm in the morning let alone remember it by the end of the day.
If I’m honest, I didn’t heed the encouragement to invite people to Easter Sunday. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I just forgot. I’m a senior at WWU. I balance full-time school with work, a family, a boyfriend, and few close friends. I function in a just-do-what-absolutely-needs-to-get-done-by-tomorrow-mode and still feel like I’m barely holding it together. I hear someday it’ll be worse when I have kids. At this point, I’m hoping I’ll have time to really serve God when I’m 65. That is, if my 401(k) is sufficient for retirement. There are certainly days I think I need to quit my job and become a missionary or church planter if I’m truly to live out Christ’s call to make disciples. I just don’t see how I can manage one more “job.”
Based on my conversations with others, I’m not alone. Have you noticed the most common descriptor people use to describe their life seems to be “busy”?
It’s easier to be inspired by Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, but it’s a different story to be motivated by it on Monday.
But don’t forget, our Sunday was actually Monday for the Jews. If he rose from the dead on a Monday, I think it’s safe to assume Christ cares about Mondays too. So why does Easter matter on Monday?
Mondays were God’s idea. After all, he created them (Genesis 1:3-5).
God also created Mondays for work. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” In fact, it was the beginning of a series of days intended to work. Genesis 2:2 says God worked six full days before he rested on the seventh day.
The people we spend our Mondays with and the ones we work to provide for are God’s idea too. In Genesis 2:18, God says it’s not right for man to be alone, so he provides for him a spouse. To them God says, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
So where does Easter apply? Before sin, the fruits of our labors were guaranteed. The ground would yield its produce, our bodies would remain perfectly healthy, our marriages would be conflict-free, our children would grow up to love and respect their families, and we would live for eternity to enjoy the riches of our labors. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God said
“cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3: 17-19).
So, while God still promised work, the fruits of our labor were no longer guaranteed. Instead, we are promised pain in childbearing, conflict with authority, death and illness. This makes sense because “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). It is God who provides the fruit of our labor. If we’ve rejected him, we’ve rejected his blessing too. Those of us who’ve experienced the loss of something or someone despite our efforts know the pain that comes from this state of helplessness.
But then Easter. In the Garden of Eden, God promised a Savior who would make right their wrong. Then Christ showed up. He lived a sinless life before presenting himself to God as the perfect sacrifice needed to wipe away our guilt. Access to God was granted as the veil of the temple was torn in two. Three days later, on a “Monday”, Christ rose from the dead to prove that in him even death couldn’t separate from God.
So how does this apply to Monday? Well in Christ, all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:10). This means “the earth has yielded its increase; God our god, shall bless us” (Psalm 67:6). In Christ, the fruits of our labor are guaranteed. Paul says, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15: 57-58). This applies to every labor that God has provided for us, even those Excel reports:
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24).
This doesn’t mean that every effort will receive its reward in this lifetime. But it does mean that when Christ returns all will be made right and we will receive the inheritance he has promised for his children. This is the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). This hope in Christ is also the “evidence of things unseen” to a world that only sees today (Hebrews 11:1).
But how does this fulfill Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations? Well, where do we find people who don’t yet know Jesus? You find them In the office, the grocery store, the gym, even the DOL. But we’re busy, just trying to get through the day. So are they. The craziness of life is not restricted to Christians. They likely won’t have time for a lengthy conversation. But they’ll probably have time to notice the sincere effort you put into the work you do, the joy you possess even when it rains, and the faith you have that God will always provide the reward for your labors. That’s something they don’t have. For them, work is what you do until you make enough money to be at leisure. Because “if there is no resurrection from the dead, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Corinthians 15:32). But for you, your work is the daily proof that God is good.
If you truly believe this, it will change a Monday into a statement of faith. Something this counter-cultural won’t go unnoticed. Lord-willing, someone might ask you for the evidence of the hope you possess, and you might find it worth the time to squeeze in a drink at happy hour tonight or a shared freezer meal on Wednesday.
That’s why Easter matters on Monday too.