When Jesus died on the cross, there was a lot of pain. We feel His pain when we go to church on Easter. Lots of people show up that don’t normally attend church and we hear of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

When it’s all said and done, we walk about feeling inspired but that feeling is often lost in the daily minutia of life. I hear it all the time from people who ebb and flow. Those who are “onboard” Sunday but step off the path by mid-week. Is it just a function of putting Jesus in a box? Probably something like that.

It happens at work frequently, this notion of turning pain to gain. It’s called hard work. Whether you’re learning a new skill or maybe trying to meet a tight deadline, overcoming the learning curve or sweat equity results in a payoff. Achievement. Or advancement. When we try to take a shortcut, we often loose. The same is true when we give up.

This is also true in many sports: we advance to the next level whenever we experience pain. Pain comes along with growth and advancement in skill; we go farther. Or faster. Or score more…

There’s nothing more rewarding than running a race with painful endurance and closing the deal. Our cross country coach used to tell us everyone who participates is a winner. I like that thought.

“Some people want it to happen; some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan

Jordan made it happen. He spoke of failure and not giving up. A lot. He also spoke of talent. Did MJ rely on talent to take him to the top? Certainly not. He also said, “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.”

We turn that pain to gain when we follow Jesus. He came for a reason: so that we could have forgiveness for our sins. And eternal life. Why? Well, it’s a basic truth of turning pain to gain: there is no other way.

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But wait, there’s something over and, above all, that… Jesus did something more in His “labor of love.”

“I have come so they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus

What’s that all about? While most of us are probably not going to pass from this life today, eternity starts now, not somewhere over the rainbow…

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” Saint Irenaeus

That’s it. You’ve been set up. Will you convert pain to gain? Will you live out “fully alive” today?

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