Preparation through perspiration

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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How well do you remember your first job? How much did you get paid? How “satisfying” was it? Did you ever consider it as a career opportunity? How did it impact your community? Other than how much it paid, were any of these other things even on your radar?

My first job involved a hoe, tumbleweeds and a 3-hole golf course. On really good days, irrigation pipes got added.

I don’t remember how much I got paid for that summer job in 1975, but since minimum wage was $2.10 per hour, I’m pretty sure that was about it. Four hours per day, five days per week, $2.10 per hour. In the West Texas summer heat. And I had to walk to work! (Of course, it was only a couple of blocks from my house, so the walking part was not tough).

There was not much job satisfaction (other than that whopping $40 a week). I certainly didn’t envision a career as a weed-chopper, and I never gave a thought to community impact. It was a job.

But reflecting on it after more than 40 years, I see how it played a role in my life’s calling.

Part of what I do is help churches and organizations see the beauty of their stories, remove barriers to telling their story well and preserve the beauty of their stories through intentional action. That little golf course and the park across the street served the community, providing facilities for recreation and renewal and giving people from neighboring communities a reason to visit ours. What if no one had kept the grass watered and mowed? What if no one had kept the tumbleweeds from taking over?

Not only was I unknowingly serving the interest of the community, God was training my eyes and my passion for beauty and story.

Psalm 78:70-72 – “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”

God did not choose David as king “in spite” of his having been a shepherd boy; He prepared him, through shepherding, to be the kind of king He wanted for His people.

I have a couple of questions for you. How has God used the experiences of your life to prepare you for now? How is He using what you are doing now to prepare you for what is next?

You see, my friends, your life has always mattered to God, even if you weren’t aware of it at the time. Even if you aren’t aware of it now. The past is prologue and preparation. The present is practice and preparation. The future is promise and preparation.

Lean in. Learn. Live full out. Find and do what you were made for. You are loved and valued by God.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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