May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17 NIV).
Friend to Friend
While visiting our cabin in the mountains can be a magical experience, what it takes to keep it running is not. It’s a lot of hard work. After signing the mortgage paperwork and living through the first winter, we realized just how hard. Besides our regular jobs, there’s always a long list: clearing brush, taking down dead trees, chopping firewood, cooking meals, changing sheets, and cleaning the chicken coop. We are forever preparing for the next season.
We’ve learned to invite guests with a caveat: In the morning, we will cook you a glorious breakfast (for which the chickens have provided the main ingredient) and keep the coffee pot full. In the evenings, we will have cheese and crackers around the fire and then settle in for a wonderful dinner and talking late into the night (with more coffee).
However, from after breakfast until cracker time, Roger and I are either working at our jobs or working on chores. We used to try to “get ahead” before guests arrived, but it never worked. It turns out there is no such thing as “caught up” or “getting ahead” around here.
Three kinds of guests come to the Red House to get away from it all. The first are those who come to relax. They want to sit by the fire, eat good food, and walk in the woods—or just read a book about walking in the woods.
But we have been surprised to find that the most common visitor wants to get in on the action. They want to know how to clean the chicken coop, chop logs, cook dinner for the crew, or do one of the other 947 things that need to be done at any time.
Then there is a third kind of guest. The one who comes declaring, “I don’t want to do anything but sit by the fire, read a book, and pet the dog.” And we assure them that their plan is fine. But after a day or two of deep fire sitting, a strange thing starts to happen. Our proclaimed fire-sitter starts to look for things to work on. Maybe it’s planting some vegetables for spring, baking some muffins, or just sweeping the floor of the kitchen. After some rest, people often want to work.
Popular culture has taught us that the goal is to not work. To be free from responsibility and burden. To be able to do what we want, when we want. That relaxation is the ultimate reward. But I’ve come to realize that most people actually love to work. (And here I thought I was the weirdo.)
God has designed us for work. After he created Adam and Eve, the Bible says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” In other words, you have a job to do!
When we are in a healthy place, work can be downright soul-satisfying. It’s a joy to
know you’ve improved life for those you love—even if they’re chickens—is good for the soul. It’s fulfilling to have accomplished something, to have served someone else, or to have made something a little better than we found it. God has ordained it, and our soul longs for it.
We have had guests beg to freshen the chicken run and haul logs. We have had friends “come to relax” by helping build a greenhouse. On a notable day, Roger mentioned that he wanted some steps up the mountain to another landing. Our friend Scott grabbed a shovel and started to carve stairs into the mountain.
You, my friend, are a reflection of God, the Creator. God designed us for work and creation. God designed work to be good for us, and good for our soul. God knew we needed direction and purpose. He “established the work of our hands” so our souls could be satisfied.
Dear Lord, Thank You for creating me with a purpose, and the talents and gifting to go along with it. Show me the work You have for me to do today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you feel about work? Does the thought of it weigh you down or bring satisfaction to your soul? Click on the comment button and let us know your thoughts.
More from the Girlfriends
“Working It Out” is an excerpt from Kathi’s book, An Abundant Place.
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