In the past few months God has been hitting me time and time again with the message of hard work and why it is so important. Yet again tonight in my newest study, this topic came up. As I am diving deep into the book of Ruth, the author of my study is picking apart the relevance of basically every verse in this book. Today we looked at her work ethic. Boy was that convicting! This young woman who has not only lost her husband but has been completely uprooted from her family and her home to go to a land where she is deemed an outcast, still lifts her chin up and does what she is called to do. Not just for herself but for the sake of her widowed mother in law as well. She really sets an example of how to conduct ourselves during times of hardship.
So as I am reading verse after verse in various parts of the Bible about how much God values hard work it got me thinking. It made me realize how far off from God's plan we really are. From the beginning of time, man was created to work. Adam himself was made to work in the garden. This was even before Adam and Eve sinned which tells us that God sees work not as a punishment, but as a blessing.
Now I don't know about you, but I often think of work as anything but a blessing. It is a pain, it means sacrifice, it means doing what I am supposed to over what I want to. Where is the blessing in that? But the more I try and look at it from God's point of view, the more I see what he means. The sheer willingness to work hard opens the door for God to provide for us. Look at Ruth. She was willing to get up at dawn to find a field where she could glean the leftovers all day. This is hard, roll-up your sleeves, sweat producing work. And it isn't prideful. Those leftovers were intentionally untouched for the purpose of allowing the poor to retrieve them. Despite all of that, she did it. And God blessed her by putting Boaz in her path who later turned things around for both Ruth and Naomi.
Hard work also keeps us from being idle. You have heard the saying, "Idle hands are the devil's playground." How true is that? I know that as a kid the dumbest things I did came from having too much time on my hands. Of course this applies to adulthood as well. When we are idle we are usually filling our time with things other than that of the Lord. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. - 1 Timothy 5:13.
I know that in my life this is an area that I continually feel called to change. I don't work outside the house but I still have a job. Taking care of my husband, my kids and my home is my work. And big work it is! I should be pouring myself into it each day and I hate to have to admit that more times than not I am just doing what I need to do to get by. The bare minimum. Oh what shame I feel in admitting that. But there is also freedom in the truth. I know that I am not alone in this. As you read this you may be thinking that you could write this same thing. But you want to know the good news? This doesn't have to be your truth. You have a choice and so do I. The choice as I see it is to keep living day to day, fighting all the good things God has in store for me and as a result feeling both guilty and unfulfilled OR to change the way I look at my life and my purpose. To see the blessing in serving my family and working hard in my home. To know that God only wants what is best for me and that he is just waiting to bless me in even greater ways when I choose to be obedient. When I look at it that way, the choice seems like a no-brainer!
I am going to end this by doing something I rarely do here. But as I type this I feel like someone will read it who will understand, who will feel like I do and want to make a change. So I ask, if that is you, will you pray for me? Pray that I make the choice to be obedient to God's calling in my life to work hard and to find the blessing in that work. And in return I will be praying for you. I may not know you by name but God does so I will lift you up all the same. God Bless!