WORK

work cropped

WORK-activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

 

My Grandpa was a farmer.  Grandpa had milk cows and farmed acres of corn.  When he retired, he had a garden at his house, and helped us with the garden at our house.  Our garden was at least twice as big as his.  My dad is a building contractor and when Grandpa retired from farming he moved to Cedarville to be near us and help my dad at his various jobs.  He would pick up trash or pull weeds or paint.  Whatever “his hand found to do, he did it with all his might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  My Grandpa worked for my dad until they had to take away his license, and then if someone would pick him up and take him to the job; he went and worked.  I remember coming home from school and Grandpa would be out picking weeds in our yard or garden.  I think he did this for a few reasons: he liked to work, he liked to serve, and he liked to be outside.

 

While in Florida for Christmas (2015), we helped my parents and sister (and her family) with the homes they are building.  During one of our conversations my dad, who is 68, told me, “I like to work.”  I wonder where he got that gene from.  I came home yesterday and found our daughter Denise, 17 years old, picking up sticks because we had a big wind storm over the week-end and are getting a big snow storm today.  I did not ask her to do this.  She reminds me of my Grandpa and Dad.  She loves to be outside and work with her hands.  Our other daughters are good workers too, but Denise has a special affinity to working outside.

 

Do young people today have an aversion to work, or is their view of work different than the older generations?  I think the answer is “yes” to both.  Many children growing up today, do not have to help around the house.  Yet, what is this establishing in a child’s mind if they grow up and do not have to work?  As a child, I did not like to weed the garden or mow the grass, but I did it anyway.  Today, I have a sense of satisfaction when a job gets completed, even if it is cleaning up the kitchen after ANOTHER meal.

 

Also, many today put work in a box.  We only do the work we have to, the minimum required.  Once, when I was teaching a preschool class at church, someone told me I did not have to put so much work into my lessons.  I was surprised by this statement.  I was always taught to do my best.  After all, my labor is for my Savior-He is my final Judge.

 

Many verses talk about work: 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

II Thessalonians 3:10 “…If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Proverbs 18:9 “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.”

I Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.”

 

God does not tell us to only work for pay, rather He tells us to work with all our might for His glory so we are not destructive, otherwise we will or should not eat.  Whatever we do should be to His glory, not matter what job it is.  Whether it’s cleaning toilets, cleaning up after the dog, shoveling snow, or weeding, we are to do all for the glory of God.

Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might to the glory of God!

Advertisements

EXAMPLE

 

Example

 

Example   -a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided.

 

When I was a teen, my grandma tried to teach me to sew.  She was a beautiful sewer who could make anything.  She even made a quilt big enough to fit a queen size bed all by hand-even the quilting was done by hand.  She completed all of this in seven years.  She was amazing!  As a teen, I thought an important skill to have as a wife and mom was to sew.  Grandma took me to the fabric store and we picked out a pattern and some fabric and she set about to teach me how to sew.  Everything had to be precise.  The material must be pinned to the pattern and then cut with only fabric scissors.  Scissors that were used to cut chicken or paper just would not work.  Once the pattern was cut, the sewing would commence.  After a seam was sewed, it must be ironed so it lay down and not cause any bulges.  The finished product was a denim skirt that I had so desperately wanted.  If I did not follow the pattern and Grandma’s directions exactly, my skirt would not have looked like the picture I was trying to copy.

 

Metaphorically speaking, our lives are to be patterned after Christ in such a way that after the cutting from the pattern, sewing, and ironing when we are held up do we look exactly like the picture on the front of the pattern?  “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (I Peter 2:21).  The picture, of course, is Christ.  This verse reminds us of the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  A man walks into church and challenges the congregation to walk “in His steps.”  What does this really look like?

 

Jesus came to earth not to do His own will, but “the will of Him that sent Him.” (John 6:38).  Jesus spent time alone with His Father in prayer, seeking His Face, and enjoying fellowship with Him.  Love is a great motivator of our will.  Jesus loved the Father so much He was willing to do what He asked.

 

Are we willing to follow this example?  The example that Christ left for us?  Do our actions and words look like the picture left for us in Scripture, or am we so far removed from the original it is hard to tell what the original really was?

 

The words on our kitchen wall remind me of the qualities that Jesus has that I am to emulate: respect, thankful, love, humility, faithful, joy, sacrifice, serve, lead, patience, and kindness. He is our example in all of these things.  However, He does not leave me to flounder on my own trying to figure out how to make the “skirt” myself, how to be Christ-like.  He does not want me to fail in following His example, rather He walks through life with us each step of the way helping us to follow His steps.

LEAD

 

2233_16628_Ashley-Plead cropped

LEAD-a word that can be a noun or a verb.  As a verb lead means to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, or a rope while moving forward.  As a noun it is the initiative of an action as an example for others to follow.

 

Our first Leader Dog for the Blind, Ashley, has about two more weeks of training with her forever blind person and she will be off to do what God created her to be and do.  I have been amazed and humbled by this process and brought to tears, both of joy and frustration, as I have watched Ashley and now our current Leader Dog in training, Lilly, grow, mature, develop, and take on this amazing role.  What amazes me is what is required and what disqualifies a dog for service.

 

One story is of a dog who got her third ear infection the day before she was to go home with her forever blind person and she was disqualified (career changed) from service.  These dogs are x-rayed and if their hips are bad, they are career changed.  If they are afraid of anything, they are career changed.  Another dog was doing well in training but could not get over his fear of the floor cleaner at the grocery store.  He was career changed.  Ashley’s brother, Duke, was career changed because he became hesitant.  Ashley could still be career changed, but it is exciting to know she is this close.

 

The positive stories of these Leader Dogs are many.  One woman shared how everyone that knew her noticed how much her freedom increased.  People said she looked like she was “flying.”  Others report an increase in confidence and a feeling of increased safety.  These Leader Dogs have to ignore balls bouncing, fresh popcorn on the floor, people petting them, and the multitude of noises that could frighten them.  They have to know when to cross the street and when to willfully disobey knowing that danger is near if they obey.  They must know when to avoid a low lying branch or a tripping hazard across their path.  All of these things are expected from a 12-16 month old puppy.

 

There are many things we can learn from these Leader Dogs.  The same things that cause a Leader Dog to be career changed can also cause us to be “career changed” from being quality leaders. Fear, hesitation, distraction, lack of focus, inability to know when to “obey” and when to take a stand for a better alternative are all things that cause a Leader Dog to be career changed will also make a poor and ineffective leader.

 

As my daughters have grown up, I have prayed often various Scriptures for their future husbands. A new one I have added recently is I Peter 3:7 “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”  I have this verse written at the top of a page in my prayer journal and beneath it I have several qualities of a good leader that I pray will be in my future sons-in-law:

 

*inspires others to follow

*brings out the best in a person

*recognizes individual’s potential skill and helps them to use these skills

*builds others up

*inspires and motivates people to want to do their best

*connects people

*builds trust

*an example of honesty and integrity

*LEADER is not a title

*innate ability to inspire and motivate others to accomplish and achieve more than they             thought possible

*protect and provide for needs

 

Additional qualities seen in Jesus as a leader:

*basic motivation was love

*used His power to serve

*served others before Himself

 

We all are leaders.  No matter our station in life, we are leaders whether we realize it or not.  No matter the path of our lives, someone is following us either positively or negatively.  If we do not take this role seriously and desire to inspire and motivate others to accomplish all they can be and seek to serve others from the love God has given to us, where will the next generation be?  A gifted leader does not push someone into achieving something rather he inspires them to accomplish something greater than themselves.  This gifted leader comes along side and works with an individual inspiring them along the way.  This leader asks nothing of anyone that he/she is not willing to do himself/herself.

 

If Ashley can lead a blind person, then what are we afraid of?  If a dog who was not made in the image of God can lead a person to safety, can you not inspire others to excel to greater heights?  Don’t be hesitant, fearful, or distracted rather inspire the best from people and see that skill or quality in someone take root and cause them to “fly.”

Faithful

Faithful cropped

 

Faithful- loyal, steadfast, firm adherence to whatever one owes allegiance. An unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.

 

One of our favorite shows to watch on TV as a family is Survivor on CBS.  Sixteen people are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to survive 40 days with little food, little shelter, competitions, and remain in the game without getting voted off by fellow teammates.  We have been watching this show since its debut.  The irony of the whole thing in my mind is faithfulness and trustworthiness.  Alliances are made, bonds are made, and even friendships are made.  Many times a person is voted off because they broke their word.  Other times, people are voted off because they are such a big threat to win the game.  One of the favorite things for the players to do is blindside a fellow player.  So faithfulness plays a key role in the game and yet at times these players feel that a blindside, which in all honesty is stabbing a fellow player in the back, is the best policy.  Faithfulness is key at the right times.

 

God does not see faithfulness as situational.  God’s faithfulness is not situational.  When I go back and review the words we have studied that adorn my kitchen wall, I am frequently reminded that all of these words: respect, thankful, love, humility, compassion, joy, patience, sacrifice, and serve are not possible without faithfulness.  Respect only when we feel like it is not respect.  Any of these qualities fit this equation.  We must be faithful in displaying these qualities.

 

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:3,4).  What does faithfulness do for us?  We find favor with God and man.  In Survivor, faithfulness is the quality that is endearing to the fellow players.  In any person we meet as we become acquainted with them and see their life, faithfulness is one of those endearing qualities.

 

What is the opposite of faithfulness?  Betrayal.  We have all been betrayed at some point in our lives.  This is one of those deep wounds that are hard to erase and hard to forgive.  When we are betrayed, we question our value as a person.  We wonder what is wrong with us that someone felt compelled to betray us.  We struggle with understanding the answer to why this betrayal took place.  Yet, in the midst of our questioning, we must remember that it was not us that betrayed it was another person.  In Survivor, the betrayal that takes place comes down to winning the game and the one million dollar prize.  In life, betrayal comes down to the sin of another person.  Unfortunately, we blame ourselves for another’s sin, and often this drags us into a tail spin of our own sin.

 

What must we do?  We are all sinners and betrayal will happen throughout our lifetime.  These are the facts.  I often remind myself that someday I will stand before God and give an account of what I have done (II Corinthians 5:10), not what others have done to me.  In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the servant who was dishonest.  Jesus reminds us of our responsibility as he concludes this parable.  “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10).  We will stand before God and give an account of our faithfulness, not any one else’s.  Be loyal and steadfast.  Keep your promises.  God keeps His to us!