Two Days In The Sun Taught Me A Few Things

This post is going up late on Saturday night. That’s because from sunup to sundown (not quite literally…6:30 am onward) for two consecutive days I’ve been in my yard with my father planting trees, shrubs, and flowers (250ish). For those of you who read this multiple days from now, the two days I’m referring to are Friday and Saturday (heat indexes of 105 and 106 respectively I believe).

I’ve probably got heat stroke. So this post will not be insightful or terribly intelligent. It may not even be coherent. But I learned two things today on why I would willingly submit myself to such conditions.

1. Because I had a goal in mind.

I could work tirelessly, changing shirts three to four times a day due to sweat, because there was a prize I was seeking – a beautifully landscaped yard I could enjoy and be proud of. This was not just tough labor, it was tough labor with a payoff. Imagine I offered you a 3,000 square foot house with spectacular views on the beach in California, free of charge. The only catch is that you have to hitchhike all the way there to claim it. If that was the goal you had in mind while trekking cross-country in 18-wheelers, would you be tempted by a decrepit shack on the plains of west Kansas? Of course not, because you have a glorious prize awaiting you.

Paul reminds us of this concept in Philippians 3:13-14 – “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

We all need prizes to focus on as we strain through our days, weeks, years. Our ultimate prize is being with Christ in heaven. But it’s wise to remind ourselves of all the worthwhile, yet temporary, prizes that we have in store if we would work hard for them.

2. Because I really love plants.

It’s tough to work hard for something when you don’t really love the thing. Most people probably think I’m crazy for spending the resources (energy, time, money) that I have the last few days. I totally understand. I don’t get why, a week and a half from now, people will be standing in line for days to be the first to see the final Harry Potter. I don’t love it that much. (But for those of you getting your Hermione or Voldemort outfits ready, my hat is off to you. Go enjoy yourselves.)

But I do love plants. I’m convinced that one of the keys in life is to find the things you love and passionately pursue them. Hobbies, vocations, people. As long as you’re following the Lord faithfully I think one of the things he uses most to sustain and motivate us are the desires he’s placed within us.

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