You’re attending a barbecue at a friend’s home and standing among his perfectly manicured lawn. The grass is lush green, the flowers are blooming, and there’s even a rippling waterfall. What images flash through your mind?
I’ll tell you what I envision… sweat, toil, blisters, back pain, splinters, and allergic reactions. I see aspirin, band-aids, and antihistamines.
In case you haven’t guessed, I have a strong aversion to yard work. It’s a combative relationship. I fight and wrestle with all things landscaping. Over the years I’ve searched for understanding as to why. After all, my wife really enjoys working in the yard. She likes to trim, manicure, rake, and all of those other dreadful chores.
I’m afraid what it boils down to is: it’s hard work, it’s a losing battle, and I really don’t care. I live in Florida. It’s hot 10 months out of the year. There are innumerable insects, even more varieties of weeds, and sand not dirt. Through the years I’ve won small battles in my meager patch of land, but I’ll never win the war.
I drive through my neighborhood and see immaculate grounds. Virtual estates with beautiful flowers, verdant grass, and expertly trimmed hedges. I also a see a particularly unhealthy, weed ridden, neglected lawn… as I pull into my own driveway.
Does the home with the “Yard of the Month” award just happen? No! Does the drought ridden jungle lawn just happen? Yes! A paragon takes work, a disaster takes disregard.
Life is much the same. Achievement only comes through effort. A life filled with lush, flowering service requires hard work. Living daily with disdain for others bears the fruit of selfishness and materialism. One effort is arduous and the other is facile.
It’s a societal pandemic. Hard work is discouraged and weak effort is often rewarded. People expect the best without having to work.
Unfortunately this fallacy pervades our attitude of service, once again, because it’s hard. Getting involved in people’s lives, immersing yourself in their troubles is laborious. Sacrificing time, energy, money, and sweat is toilsome.
Real service is a personal investment. To grow and change people’s lives, you need to immerse yourself in their situations. Throwing money at a problem may help to meet someone’s immediate need, but you don’t delight in the sweet taste of service. The helper’s high that you never come down from.
I can pay someone to maintain my yard. It may result in awards and accolades, but I won’t have labored for the achievement. I won’t have learned how to nurture my lawn and provide for its needs. I will always have to find someone else to fulfill what it requires.
So get out there amongst the weeds, thorns, and muscle aches of life. Find something that needs to be done and work hard. Get involved personally and intimately. Whether you enjoy it or not, do your best and achieve great results. God will be glorified and lives will be changed, forever!
What rewards do you realize from hard work?