| from Julie LaQuey |
My dad knew how to play hard. Whether he was pulling us on a sled behind a four-wheeler, taking us waterskiing at the break of dawn, or building us the tallest swing set we’d ever seen, he enjoyed playing hard. He also knew how to work hard. He created a successful farming business and taught his employees and us kids through his example and clear expectations of diligence and hard work.
“When I works, I works hard.
When I plays, I plays hard.
And when I sits, I falls asleep.”
With their grammatically incorrect personality, these words were prominently displayed on a plaque in my grandparent’s home for as long as I can remember. My grandparents were also hard workers, and it is easy to see how this philosophy of hard work has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. My dad learned to work hard and play hard, and he often would fall asleep as soon as he sat down to rest. In many ways, he personified the words on the plaque in my grandparent’s home.
My husband grew up in a family with a similarly strong work ethic. He recalls hearing his dad often say, “Well, someone has to do it.” Perhaps you’ve encountered similar phrases. They don’t seem as common now as they once were in our society. Where once we may have been told, “Either help or get out of the way,” now we might be more likely to hear something like, “You deserve a break today.” The use of this phrase as a well-known advertising slogan may indicate a change in our mindset as a society. While our grandparents or great-grandparents may have been known as “The Greatest Generation,” with achievements reaching far beyond that of other generations, we are now experiencing labor shortages along with an outrageously high number of welfare recipients.
I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture in Deuteronomy 6. Starting in verse 10, we read, “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you – with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant – and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD…” It is a common tendency to forget the source of abundance and fail to recognize the value of what has been received when little or no personal effort has been expended.
I recently attended an inauguration ceremony where Mike Jordahl (Senior Vice President of The Navigators) encouraged us to pray as Jesus prayed. In Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2, Jesus instructs us to pray for laborers. Mr. Jordahl not only inspired us to pray for workers but also to BE the workers that Jesus prayed for, to be willing to do the work ourselves when God calls us to do it. I see this willingness in my mother. Though her life has changed significantly since my dad died, I still clearly observe this ethic of hard work in her. When she sees something that needs to be done, she does it. She doesn’t make excuses or focus on all the reasons why she could ignore the task needing to be done, but rather than waiting for someone else to do the work, she steps up to do it herself.
As I analyze this mindset and decide whether to continue to pass on this same work ethic to my own kids, I recognize some truths that apply. I believe my parents’ work ethic stems from a respect for God, which in turn leads to care for others and an attitude of humility. It comes from an understanding that God created us to be workers (Genesis 2:15), and it is based on an acceptance of the responsibility that God gave us to rule over and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). It is birthed out of having received the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and an acknowledgment that God gives us the strength and ability to accomplish the work that He set out for us to do (Psalm 68:35).
Despite all they accomplished, my parents were not too prideful to do a menial task, not too selfish to give of their time working for others, not too busy to make time to do what needed to be done. When they recognized a need and could meet that need, they understood that God was likely calling them to do the work. They acted in obedience to God, and God abundantly rewarded their faithful obedience.
As I read about the Israelites and various individuals in the Bible and observe the lives of many faithful Christians around me, I see the same pattern of God rewarding the obedience of His people with abundant blessings. Ephesians 3:14-21 was a passage chosen for emphasis on the night of the inauguration ceremony. (Coincidentally, this was the passage my husband and I chose for our wedding exactly 27 years earlier.) We read here that God is able to do immeasurably more, or as some versions say, exceedingly abundant beyond all we can ask for or even imagine. Imagine your greatest desire. God can provide immeasurably more, something far greater, something so much better. I can attest to the fact that when I pray and obey, God provides far above and beyond what I request. It might look completely different than I had expected, but it is so much better!
Whatever you are facing today, whether you find yourself again wiping tables and noses and bottoms or struggling to find better ways to teach phonics and fractions, I encourage you to continue to pray and obey and do the work. Then be prepared to someday see God bless your obedience with His abundance.
For more from Julie and the LaQuey Family, check out their podcast at this link: https://anchor.fm/julie66136
Julie LaQuey is a follower of Jesus Christ, intent on sharing the hope of heaven and the Truth of God’s Word and His great love to others. She is wife to Tyce, married 26 years, and mother to Caleb (age 23), Abby (age 20), and Luke (age 15). Tyce and Julie have formally educated their children at home since the fall of 2006. Julie is passionate about helping women learn to respect their husbands, value their children, and love God above all.