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“Be strong and courageous, and do the work.  Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.  He won’t leave you or abandon you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished.”  1 Chronicles 28:20 CSB

David is speaking to Solomon in this verse, commissioning him to build the Temple.   God didn’t want David to build it because of his history at war so Solomon got the job.  The Temple took seven years to complete, needless to say, he needed David’s encouragement to not give up.  And so do we. We don’t build the Temple for Ron’s father, but every year we rake his leaves. His Dad has a huge pecan tree in his backyard, leaves fill it completely when they start to fall.  Raking leaves is not one of my favorite things to do. The leaves seem to multiply the more we rake them, it always seems to be an endless job. But it only takes hours, not years, and it’s a way we can serve Ron’s dad.

Physical labor, no matter what it is can be tiring.  When the sun is beating down on you, and there seems to be no end in sight, it is easy to get discouraged and want to give up. But there are multiple benefits to a good day’s work. First off, hard work builds character by developing self reliance and confidence in your ability to get the job done.  The exercise you receive from doing a job is better than an hour in the gym, it helps you keep the weight off. The sense of satisfaction when you look at the completed product is immediate. You burn calories, build self esteem and gain perspective. There are so many things in life we can’t control, but when we finish a physical job, whether raking leaves or mowing the lawn, it gives us a sense of accomplishment no one can take from us.  And doing physical labor is always a good time to pray.

When I’m raking my father-in-law’s leaves it reminds me to thank God for his presence in my life.  I’m grateful for the son he raised who is an amazing husband to me. I’m reminded of Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the Land the Lord your God is giving you.”  I know when I’m serving Ron’s dad I’m doing God’s will, it says so right there in his word. And when it is all finished and the leaves are piled at the curb waiting to be picked up, I feel a sense of satisfaction like no other.  I feel God’s pleasure as well as that of my husband and his father. Whether you rake someone’s leaves, mow their lawn or weed a flower bed, know that it isn’t done in vain. God sees the hard work you are doing and is pleased. Use the opportunity to pray for whoever you are serving, thanking God for their presence in your life and how they have impacted you.  Knowing, God is pleased as you hear Him whisper, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23 NIV).

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