As one who's never liked winter, I willingly obeyed and stayed indoors, but my husband, a farmer, had no choice. The cattle needed to be fed and chores had to be done, so he bundled up, braved the elements and taught me a lesson! I'll attempt to share what I've learned because regardless if you live on a farm or face freezing temperatures, chances are some day you'll have to work in imperfect conditions. My prayer is we'll apply what my husband modeled for me!
Friend, when we are going through a hard time or working on a difficult assignment it helps to work together. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." May we remember this!!
Oh is that a lesson for me...working smarter. Life could be better if I worked smarter, whether it's daily tasks as a mom, work I need to do as a teacher or woman in ministry. Avoiding distractions, letting go of things I don't need to do and being prepared would help me do what I need to do!! How about you?
WORK HARDER - This isn't necessarily a heading we like to see, but friend, it is a truth I needed to be reminded of. When the conditions weren't perfect, my husband had to work harder and the same is true for me, and you. Really it doesn't matter what the conditions are, if I want to improve I need to work harder. I need to put in extra time and say no to what is good, so that I can do what is best! Hard work is not something we willingly choose or volunteer for, but if we're following God and striving to glorify Him it will be something required of us.
Friends as this new year unfolds I've been thinking about 1 Timothy 4:7-10, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God,who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe." Paul is instructing Timothy to train spiritually and as we read the verse, he's instructing us to do the same. As we do this training the conditions will vary and rarely will they be perfect, but friends if we work together, work smarter and work harder we will grow stronger!!
Finally, my husband modeled one last important lesson for me last week as our family gathered in our sons' room to pray. The day hadn't been one he expected or thoroughly enjoyed, but he closed it out by sharing these words with God - "Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you that we were able to go out and do chores. We're grateful everything worked..." In my head, I almost questioned his prayer until I remembered Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." and 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." My husband set an example for me and one I pray my children saw as well...he was thankful. Friend, when we embrace our circumstances, do the work and thank God for the opportunity He will equip, strengthen and bless us.
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.
(1 Corinthians 15:58)