I don’t enjoy manual labor. I’m not one who likes to get his hands dirty. Had I been born in Rome during the days of the Empire, I would have been a house slave rather than a field slave…or maybe a gladiator. Probably not. House slave seems more likely. After all, I do like things clean and neat. But I really don’t enjoy times that have to do with yard work, construction, or anything at all that smacks of manual labor.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to live without laboring. Especially if you own a home. Mine is now 17 years old. There is a lot to do with a 17 year old house. Imagine it more like dog years. Everything breaks down. Everything needs replaced. Weeds never stop growing. So, like it or not, I am a manual laborer.
This past weekend I spent a good deal of time staining and re-staining a very large deck. It is mostly new wood (17 years old, remember?) No, I didn’t rebuild the deck. Others more skilled than myself did that. But I have spent hours on my knees with a paint brush. I didn’t enjoy it. But it is mostly done. Just a little ladder work is left.
This morning, as I gaze out at the deck it looks amazing. Better than ever before. The rain of the last evening is just sitting there, unable to penetrate the wood. A job well done. A job worth the effort. A job that will ensure that the deck lasts a long time. A manual labor effort that makes me feel good. Sort of like a yard freshly cut and trimmed. Flower beds sans weeds. The result is worth the effort.
I believe that is exactly what we will feel when we see heaven. The result was worth the effort. Granted, the greatest effort was that of Jesus himself. But the Christian life certainly takes effort as well. It takes a daily discipline to live like Jesus and grow closer to God. It takes a laser focus and a constantly grateful heart. Sometimes it even takes getting our hands dirty. Christ’s was a labor of love. May ours be as well.