Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Lesson From A Farmer

Early last week weather conditions were not what most considerable enjoyable. Church was cancelled Sunday, schools were closed Monday and Tuesday and the weatherman instructed everyone to limit outdoor exposure. The temperature fell to -23 with wind chills as low as 50 degrees below zero.

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!

WORK TOGETHER - My husband farms with his brother and typically they each do their own chores, but during those few days they each checked in on each other and gave one another a hand. My son was also called on to help a bit more. They needed an extra hand from time to time and appreciated each others help!

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!!

WORK SMARTER - With the freezing temps, my husband had to plug equipment in to make sure it would start, things had to warm up longer and be done with extra care. One thing I noticed on those cold, cold days was the cell phone he left behind. On normal mornings it's not out of the ordinary for him to make or take a call while he loads a wagon, but on these days he knew it wasn't smart to stand out in the cold to talk on the phone. The phone was simply a distraction that he chose to avoid. There were jobs that are on the list, but because of the conditions, he simply set them to the side until it made more sense to do the work that could wait.

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.

Friend, someone is waiting for you to do your work...use this lesson from a farmer and complete the task at hand!!

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)

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