For me, the toughest thing about cutting grass — by far — is putting on my shoes. It seems illogical, but it’s true. I will come up with any and every conceivable reason to not get out there and do what needs to be done. Too hot. Too wet. Too tired. Too busy. Too many interesting videos on YouTube.
Once I get my shoes on, though, I’ll go. And once I go, I’ll finish. I’ll work through fatigue, cramping, blisters, light rain — and now, in my 50s, there’s my new and least favorite relative, Uncle Arthur, to worry about. (Young people, don’t worry about Uncle Arthur. You will meet him in time.) But actually getting my shoes on my feet, that can be a real ordeal.
I’m not content with that level of work ethic. I need to do better. I want to do better. The more barriers to entry that I create for myself, the more likely it becomes that the work will not be done in a timely fashion — and perhaps not be done at all. And bottom line, it’s better all the way around when I just jump right in without delaying at all.
I’m not suggesting I have to live in a perpetual state of work, never taking a moment to breathe, or take a drink of water, or take in a peaceful morning sunrise without blinding myself with sweat. I’m saying, “appreciate life’s small pleasures,” “take time to smell the flowers,” “live in the moment” — these are all sayings that look great when embroidered on a pillow or painted on a wall hanging; but if you are not careful, they can easily become excuses for avoiding responsibility with regard to all the important things in life.
As you may have guessed by now, I’m not really talking about yard work here. I’m talking about laboring in the Lord’s vineyard. Yes, there are abundant joys available to us in Jesus. Yes, we should appreciate them and praise God for them. But we are not in His employ merely so we can celebrate how wonderful it is to be in His employ. We are in His employ to work. And the longer we put off the work, the easier it becomes to put it off even more. Before too long, we are hip deep in the world’s weeds, wondering how it could ever have gotten this bad, and perhaps even open to arguments that the “wild look” is a better motif for the people of God in the modern world.
It you want to look for an excuse to delay or avoid work, they are around in abundance. No fear of running out of excuses. But if you want to do the “good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10), if you want to “work the works of Him who sent [Jesus] as long as it is day” (John 9:4) — in short, if you want to be the child of God who works instead of the one who just talks about working (Matthew 21:28-31) — you need to get about the business. You need to put your shoes on.
If you are not in the habit of working, it might be advisable to start at a measured pace. Have some Christians in your home (Romans 12:9-13). Minister in a physical way to someone less fortunate than yourself (Matthew 25:37-40). Who knows? That “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42) may be more appreciated than you know.
Or perhaps even that is too quick a pace. Perhaps you are struggling with the simplest of tasks — regular attendance, for instance. Some are hindered beyond their control; we all realize that. But if you are capable of participating more than you are, you should ask yourself why you are choosing to discourage your brethren instead of encouraging them (Hebrews 10:24-25). If we want to be workers in the kingdom, surely the last thing we want to do is to make the work harder.
But nothing at all will happen until we make it happen. With so much work to do in so many areas of endeavor, with so many people counting on us, and with such an immense debt on our record that we cannot possibly repay, surely it is not too much for God to ask. You never know; working for the Lord may even turn into a good habit.