Our work for the Lord is not in vain. Sometimes it feels like it is. There are times we work and work and work and everything seemingly just keeps going down hill. Mothers and stay at home dads know exactly what I am talking about. You get up every morning, make breakfast, clean house and something else gets destroyed so you have to repair or replace it and messed up so that you have to start all over again. It feels like you are going nowhere rapidly. What we must focus on is that the work God is speaking of here is the work that affects eternity. Our most important job isn't trying to impress the world with how tidy and perfect the home we live in is. It is impressing the world with how wonderfully marvelous our God is by how we rear our children and treat our spouse.
It's about being generous and loving towards our neighbors and all those with which we come in contact. These are the things that will never be done in vain. We may not see the results while here on earth for all our efforts, but we will see them in heaven.
Yesterday I woke to pressure on my chest. I was having an asthma attack. I reached for my inhaler and the mouthpiece was missing. I called the pharmacy to get a refill prescription, but the earliest it would be ready was 11:00 am, 4 hours away and right when grandchildren were due to come over. I hated to do it, but I called my youngest son and asked if he had a spare mouthpiece. He did, so I drove there and received the medication I needed. A few minutes later I was on my way home feeling much better. I wanted to feel really good while my grandbabies were here. Praise God for my generous children who, though still in bed when I called, were more than happy to provide what I needed.
During lunch one of the children accidentally knocked over his lemonade. Juice went flying into my granddaughters face and lap, down my curtains (washed and pressed days earlier), all over the table and two chairs and the floor. I had to make a quick choice. Do I get upset and tell everyone to get up so I could clean the mess, or stay calm in order to teach them that getting upset doesn't change anything, so we might as well keep doing what needs to be done and stay happy? I chose the second option. I admit that my granddaughter made the choice easier. She started yelling that the juice was in her eye, jumped up and ran to the bathroom. When she came back she started to complain. I looked at her and asked, "Does getting upset change the fact that you have lemonade all over you?" She answered, "no," so I went on. "Then why don't we all choose to stay calm, clean up the mess and go on with our day and have fun?" She gave me a rather startled look and said, "Okay." That was that. When I think back when I was rearing my own children, I didn't react so well every time. I didn't yell, because I knew that would make my children jumpy at meal time, but I know I didn't make the best expressions and there were many times I would say, "Oh (insert child's name here)."
However, I discovered the other day while at my youngest son's house at lunch, that staying calm paid off with at least one of my children. His daughter spilled her milk. He said nothing, but simply jumped up and got paper towels to clean up the mess. His daughter smiled and said she was sorry, it was an accident. I told her we knew and that she should be happy she has a daddy that understands and doesn't get angry. What a blessing that was to me!
Rearing children while trying to maintain a loving and generous attitude toward your spouse can be exasperating and exhausting, but it is well worth the effort and has eternal rewards. As neighbors watch your children grow and mature with a wonderful attitude toward life and an assurance that they are loved and accepted and a marvelous work ethic, they will want to know how you did it. They will also want to know how your marriage has remained strong, steadfast and happy all these years. You can share with them, "With blood, sweat and tears, but mostly by grace of almighty God!!" What a tremendous testimony!Lord, help us remember, especially in the most trying times of being spouse and parent, that our work is never in vain when done for Your glory. It all has everlasting rewards that we will understand fully and marvel at when we reach our heavenly home, if not beforehand.