Today we celebrate Easter. It’s my favorite holiday of the year because of its significance.
It is the most attended church service of the year, which means that many people who do not usually attend church do so on Easter, which means that there are more people who don’t know Jesus at church on Easter than any other day of the year.
Christians, of course, celebrate Easter because the resurrection is the lynchpin of Christianity. As the Apostle Paul said, if Jesus is not resurrected from the dead, our faith is in vain, we are still in our sins, and we should be pitied not followed. I Corinthians 15:14-19. The resurrection proves Jesus was who he said he was and that we can trust Him to grant us eternal life.
But so often overlooked at Easter is what the resurrection means for Christians before they die. The Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians:
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
We can be assured we will be raised from the dead because the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in our mortal bodies. But if we believe the Holy Spirit can raise us from the dead, we must also believe that the same Holy Spirit can give us victory over sin in our mortal bodies. If we believe the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to overcome the result of sin, we must also believe He is powerful enough to overcome the reality of sin.
This week someone in the IT department of my law firm died. No details were provided regarding the cause of his death, but it appeared his death was not unexpected even though he was only a middle-aged man.
Attorneys in the firm responded to the email of his death by recounting stories of how he had helped them with their computer issues, and how he was always patient with them. That was about as personal as it got.
At first it seemed sad to me that the best we could do was talk about his IT support skills, but then I realized that was the only way we knew him.
I’m sure his family knew him more fully as a person because they related to him as a husband, father, son, or sibling, but they are only a handful of people. We are a law firm of 750. In short, at work he was known more widely but less fully. And that is the case with most of us.
I have a stressful job. In fact, U.S News & World Report’s 2022 survey ranking the top 25 most stressful jobs lists the job of a lawyer as the second most stressful job in America. On top of that, I am a trial lawyer, which is by far the most stressful of lawyer jobs.
There are many reasons being a trial lawyer is stressful, including the public speaking and arguing and that millions of dollars can be at stake, depending on how well one performs. It’s a lot of responsibility. I once lost 20 pounds during a two week trial, and it wasn’t because I was working out more.
Someone else who knew something about stress was the Apostle Paul. Paul was imprisoned, beaten on multiple occasions and often in danger of being killed, was stoned, shipwrecked three times, and once spent 36 hours floating in the open sea, wondering whether he would be rescued or drown. See 2 Cor. 11:23-25.
In addition to these external stressors, Paul had the daily pressure of responsibility for the churches he had planted or oversaw. 2 Cor. 11:28. It’s hard to imagine another person, save Jesus, who has lived a more stressful life than Paul.
Here is what Paul said about how to deal with stress:
The other night, I ate dinner at the hotel across the street. I ordered “The Gobbler,” which. as you guessed, is their version of the turkey sandwich. When it arrived, I was immediately disappointed. It was one of those triple-deckers, with an extra piece of bread in the middle, all-in-all about 5 inches thick.
They would have had to call the local fire department for the Jaws of Life to pry my mouth open wide enough for me to get a bite of this sandwich.
So there I sat trying to figure out how to get what should have been a simple turkey and cheese sandwich into my pie hole. Was I really supposed to eat it with a knife and fork?
After sixteen years of driving the same car, I bought a new car. It’s a car I have wanted since I was a kid, and I am actually enjoying driving again.
But as I was in the processing of purchasing the new car, I had to decide what to do with my sixteen year-old car. As I considered what I might get trading it in, the thought came to me: restore it and keep it.
Some part of this impulse may have been nostalgic. When I was a teenager, my parents bought me a well worn car and my father demanded I spend a month restoring it before he would let me drive it to school. That feeling of taking something worn and making it new had always stayed with me and curiously it seemed to resonate in my spirit.
So, as an adult I set about restoring my sixteen year-old car. When I was a teenager I had time and no money, so I did everything myself. Now I have money and no time, so I paid others to do what needed to be done. I started with replacing the floor mats, followed by replacing the sun worn slats on the retractable roof, and then the headlights, all of which had become discolored beyond repair. I then had the wheels refurbished.