Friday, November 22, 2019

Fun and Hard Work?

How often would you say that fun and hard work go well together? We typically picture hard work as something laborious and sweat inducing and probably to be avoided. Visions of shoveling a foot of snow off driveways are soon upon us and for most of us create a sense of dread. That kind of hard work just makes us want to stay in bed.

But is it possible that there is a kind of hard work in this life that might couple nicely with having some fun along the way? I believe so.  I experienced it this past July as I was in Minneapolis with the youth from my congregation.  We were up there for a national youth gathering. One of the elements the gathering offers as part of its program is to participate in a servant event.  They send groups out all over the community to clean up yards, help in nursing centers, and other great service activities.  Our group was sent to an organization called Feed My Starving Children. This is an organization which creates packaged meals and sends them all over the world to help feed starving children. Our servant event was to join them for one of their packing days and spend two hours helping to pack meals. Hard work? Yes. We gathered around stations and were each given a job to do as part of packing the meals. Some of us were measuring out ingredients, others were weighing the packages as made, others were stacking the finished products and putting them in the boxes. We worked and worked and worked and didn’t stop for those two hours. It went by like it was 20 minutes. Amazingly we enjoyed every minute of it.  This was the kind of work that often most people would get paid for and do as their regular job, and yet here we were volunteering and absolutely loving it. Fun and hard work together.

One of the most amazing things about being human is the fact that we can find this joy and happiness in doing hard work.  We do it knowing we benefit someone else. We know this part of our nature undoubtedly comes from God himself. It is the part of us that has been modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite simply this is loving your neighbor.  What Jesus modeled was a self-less unconditional love.  Put someone else’s well-being and needs in front of your own.  Not an easy thing to do.  Definitely a kind of love that we are far from perfect in living.  

Can you imagine our community, our nation, our world, and what we could accomplish if we all sought to live self-lessly for one another.  What would it look like if I put the needs of my neighbor ahead of my own.  What if we each took care of one another in an unconditional way? Hard work could lead to good works which help our neighbor know the true love of God.  We may not be able to pull this off on a global scale, but we can make a different starting in our own homes and communities.  If we become the father or mother, brother or sister that demonstrates this kind of love and service to those around us, who knows how far a reach this can create in making a difference for others.  As the ‘ole camp song goes “it only takes a spark, to get a fire going…”

To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at

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