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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hard Work & Enjoy Times of Refreshing

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Proverbs 6:6-8 (NLT) Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.

Renee and I just returned from our vacation. We spent ten day on the gulf in Mexico. We had really needed some rest as we had worked extremely hard this past six months. When we really need to rest, we try to get out of the country. It seems with technology, no matter where we are in the United States; we are still contacted and can’t make the mental break from everything we desperately need. (Of course that’s really our fault for just not turning off everything.) When we get out of the country, we do and we stay disconnected for the entire time. It leads to the quiet time we need alone together.

I really don’t know how others do vacation. I just know that Renee and I probably don’t do them like too many others. When we get away, we don’t stay up late and sleep in. We get up early - really early, to watch the sunrise and to read our Bibles and pray as the ocean waves roll in. We also set our sights on eating healthy and lean. We eat a healthy breakfast, skip lunch and eat an early dinner. We both come home having lost weight. I doubt if that is typical. Most of the people around us eat and drink all day on their all-inclusive deals. We also always try to stay at location with a fitness center. Each day we go in and work through our exercise routines. By the time we have done this for ten straight days, our pumps are re-primed with motivation to stay in this routine when we get home.

Beyond all that, we spend the rest of the time, swimming (body-surfing for me,) reading, and relaxing. To us, this is our perfect vacation. We spend great time together and great time with God. Each morning we sit together at the ocean having spend time in the word of God and then sharing what God was speaking to our hearts. We then pray for all of our loved ones and those God has given us in our realms of responsibility (including you!) All together this made for a wonderful time of refreshing for us.

On the 9th day of our 10 day vacation, we looked at each other and both said we were ready to come home and get back to work. Vacation is great but there comes a point where it can work against you. Rest is critical but, once you get it, it’s a joy and blessing to be able to work hard, especially if you can find purpose in your work. Some jobs seem more significant than others, but neither Renee nor I have tried to find significance in our job as much as we’ve tried to find significance in how we’ve done our job and treated others while doing our job. For fourteen years of my life I was a flight attendant in the airline. Serving coke and seven-up at 35,000 feet didn’t necessarily feel significant. But, living to be a light and witness for Jesus always did. That was my inward drive. When I had a business it was the same thing there. The interaction with people and bringing the love of God is what made my job significant.

Anything can tire you out after a while and we all need to find ways to get refreshed, but hard work is a part of a healthy life when kept in balance. Putting your hand to whatever God has given you to do and doing it to the best of your ability and unto the Lord develops character and inward strength.

Today’s Fresh Manna verses say, Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise! Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. Proverbs 6:6-8 (NLT) This verse reveals that hard work is wisdom in action. It reveals unneeded supervision to be motivated. It reveals planning for good times and bad.

The continuing verses go on and speak to the opposite of this wisdom saying, “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11 (NIV) These verses always help remind me that there are limitations to our times of taking a break. Our flesh would lean to the lazy and permanent vacation if we let it go there. But good hard work and then periodic times of refreshing to relax, smell the roses, and thank God for His blessing on your life are a good mix.

Over all our years, Renee and I have felt that if we wanted to keep our usefulness to the Lord at its highest, then working to maintain this balance was one of our highest priorities. Consequently we have strived for that and done pretty well. The last couple of years – with the continuing ease of technology, we violated that somewhat and seemed to do some work on our time away. Not this time. We disconnected. We got refreshed. And we are back ready to charge and work hard.

The ability to work hard and be a light for Jesus is a gift – a precious gift. Keeping yourself in that place daily where you can let His Word speak into your life, give your thoughts and cares over to Him, and trust Him for His help each day is critical to your daily refreshing. It is all important to you and the wisdom of God!


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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