THE NEW EWE
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
July 25, 2007
There are two scriptures that have been on my mind all week. The first is Ecclesiastes 9:10 which says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
The second scripture is Colossians 3:23,24. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
For that last scripture, a study note in my Bible says, “...to regard all labor as a service rendered to the Lord. We must work as though Christ were our employer, knowing that all work performed “as to the Lord” will someday be rewarded.”
Wow! Can you imagine how different our attitudes and work habits would be if whatever we worked at, whether on the job or at home or at church, we did it as if we were employees of God?! I know that I, myself, would be making some changes! If I regarded God as my “boss”, I wouldn't complain as much when I have to mow our yard (using a push mower) when it's hot and humid, and there's no breeze. I'd do a better job at cleaning the bathrooms or mopping the kitchen floor, which are my least favorite household chores. I also wouldn't spend so much time worrying about everyone else and what they are or aren't doing, and focus more on what I need to be doing.
The best example that I can think of that best illustrates these scriptures, took place this year on the Saturday following Fathers Day. My dad is 78 years old, and while he is still in pretty good health, age has slowed him down quite a bit. He just doesn't have the energy to keep up with things like he once could.
Daddy is a hard person to buy gifts for. He doesn't have a lot of money, but there just isn't much that he really needs or wants. Jon and I had been up to visit him and June a few weeks prior to Fathers Day, and noticed that there was a lot of cleanup and work that needed done in their yard. They have a huge place out in the country, where they raise chickens for a major poultry company, and my dad grows alfalfa which he cuts and sells. Daddy keeps the yard mowed, but there were a lot of things that had gotten neglected over time. I called my sisters and suggested as a Fathers Day gift for my dad, we all get together and have a family work day. Actually this was my sweet husband's idea! There were twelve of us who were able to be there, counting sisters, brothers-in-law, nephews and nieces.
We mowed, did a lot of weed eating, trimmed bushes and trees, pulled weeds, planted flowers, and hauled off all the excess limbs. There was an old cabinet on their front porch they wanted painted, a plant that needed re-potted, and furniture inside that they wanted moved around. We spent five or six hours working nonstop, except for lunch.
There were things that happened, that would have given individuals a legitimate reason to not come, or for us to quit. My oldest sister had had a migraine headache the day before, and still was feeling sick from the affects of it that Saturday morning. She could have stayed home and no one would have thought badly of her, yet she came and worked.
One of my nephews had borrowed some heavy duty mowers and weed eaters from his employer (with permission, of course), and brought plants from his own yard for us to use. He had called me earlier that week to see what time Jon and I were getting there, and said that he would try to get there around that same time. On the drive down, he had problems with his truck and had to stop at a garage to have it fixed. He didn't arrive until a little after noon, after having to pay $200 for the repair. No one would have blamed him for turning around and going back home. Yet the next day he told his mom (my oldest sister) that he was disappointed because by the time he arrived a lot of the work was already done, and he didn't get to help out more. She reminded him that he had used one of the big mowers quite a bit, but he said that it was fun to use and like playing on a big toy; it wasn't work.
It had been cloudy all day, and shortly after lunch, it started lightly raining. One of my sisters and I were pulling weeds out of a flower bed so we could do some planting. I looked around when it started raining, and no one acted as if they cared. No one ran for the house so they wouldn't get wet, no one started loading up their equipment, and no one stopped working. Everyone just kept right on with what they were doing, as if they didn't even noticed that they were getting wet. After about twenty minutes or so, the rain stopped.
When it began raining, if we had of quit working and decided to all go home, my dad would have been fine with that. He would have thanked us all for what we had done, and been contented with the work that had been accomplished. But we all wanted to complete what we had set out to do. We wanted to finish up and make the place look as nice as possible for Daddy and June. We weren't working out of a sense of guilt, or because we were getting any personal benefits out of it, or for any other reason, other than the fact that we love Daddy and June and wanted to do something special for them that they were unable to do for themselves.
There was no competition about who was doing the most work or doing the best job. No one had self appointed themselves as being in charge or was bossing everyone around. As each of us saw something that needed to be done, we just did it.
Daddy and June were absolutely thrilled over how beautiful their place looked. My dad had been outside working around with us all day. He didn't have to, but he just wanted to be outside with his kids. June has Parkinson disease, and although she is doing fairly well, she had stayed indoors. She had also hurt her back the day before. June had walked around outside the house, to look at everything, right before we all left. Her comment was that it didn't even look like the same place. She hadn't realized how overgrown everything had gotten, until she saw it all trimmed and cleaned up. After we all had left, Daddy had driven June down the road, then turn around and came back so she could see how good their yard looked as they were going up the driveway.
We couldn't have done anything that they would have liked or appreciated more. It wasn't only all the work we did, but that we all took time from our own schedules to spend a day doing something especially for them.
Several years ago, during my time as a supervisor at a bank, I had an employee who didn't quite get the concept of doing your best. When we hired her, she had no prior banking experience, so we paid her accordingly. My office was in a room in back of the bookkeeping department, with a wide doorway between us. During the next year, I observed that this girl didn't take any initiative to learn her job. It wasn't that she couldn't learn it, she just chose not to. After a few months, the other ladies were getting tired of her constantly interrupting and asking them questions about how to do everything. I had brought her back to my office on more than one occasion to go over details of what she was supposed to be doing, and would ask her if understood or had any questions. She would assure me that she knew how to do the work. I had offered to spend time explaining things to her if she didn't understand something or was having problems, and she told me that she knew what she was doing and didn't need my help.
When the time came for her yearly review, I went over the past year and told her that I was going to have to put her on a thirty day probation. If she showed improvement after that time, then she would get a raise. Her response just about floored me! She told me that if we had of been paying her more money, then she would have done a better job. Since we were only paying her $x.xx an hour, then she was only going to do the work that she felt was equivalent to that. But if we would have paid her more, then she would have worked harder and done a better job.
I explained to her that that wasn't how the employer/employee relationship works. The employer doesn't pay you according to how much work they want you to do, but according to the amount of work you do. Therefore, if you want to make more money, then you need to prove that you are capable of responsibility, be dependable, and learn your job. You have to give it you best. That's not what she wanted to hear and she turned in her resignation the following day.
At times we look at those scriptures that talk about whatever we do, to do it will all our might and our whole heart, and think it only applies to spiritual things. We think, “Okay that means when we pray or read our Bible, that we should give it our full attention, and not let our mind wander.” Or it means we should be faithful to attend church and not fall asleep during service. (Yes, Jon that last half of that sentence was for you!)
I believe it means that we need to give our very best in everything that we do. We don't do things half-hearted or in a hurry just to get it done, but we put our whole heart and might into it. Whether I'm writing the weekly newsletter, or mowing, or washing dirty clothes, or mopping the kitchen floor, or grocery shopping, or cooking meals, or singing at church, or praying and reading my Bible, etc., I need to put my very best effort into it. It doesn't matter whether or not it's enjoyable to me, or whether or not it's something I'm good at, or if it's in or out of my comfort zone. I need to do ALL things according to the scriptures!
I know that personally, I have a lot of room for improvement. I don't want to be guilty of having the attitude that, “Oh well, if I don't do my best, no one will ever know the difference.” If I see God as my employer, then my “Boss” does know the difference. He knows and sees and hears all. He knows my attitude, my heart, my motives, when I'm sloughing off, if I'm being honest in what I do, if I'm doing my best, or if I'm trying to take shortcuts.
Perhaps we all need to stop and take inventory occasionally to see if we are truly following Ecclesiastes 9:10 and Colossians 3:23,24. Everything we put our hand to, are we doing it with all our might? After all, once our life has ended, our chances to do our best is over. We only have the few, short years that God allots us here on earth. In all that we do, are we working at it with all our heart? Are we looking at man, trying to be people pleaser's, or are we doing it as unto the Lord? In all that we do, let's do it as if God is our employer!
It's a hard habit to maintain, doing everything with the mindset that it is for God. Especially when we decide to do something we know is wrong. How can we steal that grape at the grocery store as for the Lord? I guess I could pretend I'm forcing the grocery store to donate it to the poor. But that doesn't really hold up. And is it possible to be jealous of my neighbor for the Lord? Or cheat someone out of money? It's just easier to keep focused on God and change our behavior than it is to try to come up with all those excuses.
Wackies (No Bake Cookies)
2 cup sugar
2 ½ cup oats
½ cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter
½ cup peanut butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa
Put the butter in a pan. Add sugar, milk, and cocoa. Cook on medium heat until mixture reaches a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 and ½ minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cookies will harden as they cool.
With hotter temperatures, we're all looking for ways to keep our house cool without breaking the bank! Here are a few tips:
Keep your window blinds or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day, especially those windows the sun shines in.
Use ceiling fans to circulate the air.
Using the oven will heat up the kitchen. If you need to bake, do it in the mornings or later in the evenings, if possible.
Keep your doors closed. It will help keep some of the heat out.
We have computerized thermostats, where we can put the air conditioning on a timer, which helps with the electric bill.
When I was growing up, we didn't have air conditioning. Screen doors, open windows, and box fans were all we had to try and circulate the air and keep cool. So if you really want to save money, these are also options!! :)
When my oldest two sisters were in elementary school, they attended a really small country school. One winter day, it was time to go home, and my oldest sister saw a pair of gloves lying there and thought they belonged to her sister. She grabbed them, but after she got home, realized that they belonged to someone else. Her little sister had left her gloves at home that day. She didn't know what to do with the gloves, so threw them behind the refrigerator to hide them. She was afraid if someone saw her with them, they would think she had stolen them. She was too embarrassed to tell anybody what she had done. A few weeks later, my parents were moving to another house and when they moved the refrigerator, they found the gloves hidden back there. They asked my sister about them, and found out what she had done. My mom took her to the other girl's house and made her give them back and apologize. My oldest sister said that she was so embarrassed, and going and apologizing was one of the hardest things she's ever had to do!
“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” -Alphonse Karr
May the blessings of God abundantly be poured out upon you and your family.
May you experience the fullness of joy within your life.
May the peace that surpasses all understanding fill your heart and mind, through Christ Jesus.
Our prayer is that your relationship with God will be richer and deeper than ever before.
Although we may never know who all reads our newsletter, we love and appreciate each of you more than you will ever know.
Thank you so much for your support and the encouraging e-mails we receive from time to time that reaffirms to us that there really are people out there who are reading our newsletter and being blessed.
We thoroughly enjoy hearing from you!
Loretta & Jon