Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: Sometimes Life is Hard Work
By Lynne Fickett
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Life has a way of being a hard taskmaster, not always, but it sometimes feels as if this is true. I think that a great deal of my time, concentration, and energy revolve around keeping appointments at the hospital; I am in constant competition for time to perform tasks that need to be done, for writing, and relaxing while watching TV or making a craft project.
Sometimes I think life expects us to become master jugglers with the many facets of our daily lives—managing our time, keeping our appointments and other obligations straight, shopping, cleaning, and in the midst of it all, we are strongly encouraged to take time for ourselves, to decompress, mellow out and rest. Those who have a level of skill at multi-tasking, and a greater ability to handle stress at home and in the workplace, thrive on working hard. Regardless of our drive and energy, eventually we come to the end of our endurance and realize our limitations.
I was amazed at the number of definitions for the word work in the dictionary—really too many to mention here; from artistic creations, industrial labor, to business pursuits, the best description of work I’ve found is “Something produced by mental effort or physical labor.” This definition seems to embrace all of life’s experiences and events, sometimes grabbing our attention more forcefully than at other times, but always tends to draw us back on task at the grist mill of life’s activities.
After being driven from the Garden of Eden after the fall of man, God cursed the ground and made Adam and Eve labor for their food. Just as Adam and Eve had to work hard to cultivate the ground for food, so must we work hard; the types and methods of our work are different, but equally difficult and challenging.
God has called us to work. In Exodus 20:9-10the scriptures tell us
“Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it thou shalt not do any work…..for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
It has just occurred to me that the opposite is also true—it can be equally hard work to be still and at peace with ourselves and with God. Psalm 46:10 states, “Be still and know that I am God;” We can find that we are in such a state of perpetual motion that we find it hard to take life at a slower pace and experience the solitude found in the presence of God and listen for His voice and guidance for our lives. It can be difficult even uncomfortable to do if we are not regularly practicing the art of being in His presence. As much as I love the solitude, both listening and offering up my petitions before God, I find that my meditation gets interrupted by life’s incessant clamor for just a couple of more things that need to be checked off the list of to do’s.
In the midst of our daily lives, it is important to remember that even though we are called to meaningful work of some kind, God calls us to a life of balance between work and rest; we need to honor God with the first fruits of our lives and not to pencil Him into a slot that fits our schedule. It has always been God’s desire to have a relationship with us. When we honor and revere God with the best part of our day, He will surely bless that time with all that we need—His love, peace and rest for our weary soul.
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