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I Love To Work!

I Love To Work!

As I sat listening to the speaker talk about how to have a good spiritual life at home and be successful parents, I expected to hear exhortations about family devotionals and spending time with your kids. This speaker is a fine Christian man who, along with his wife, raised three boys and two girls, all of whom are now wonderful Christians with their own Christian families. So I was listening with great expectation for the keys to their success as parents.

He started off talking about the importance of role modeling the Christian life and lifestyle for your children. I was quick to agree with those comments because I, too, firmly believe in the necessity of parents being role models of Jesus for their children. But I was totally caught off guard when the speaker told his secret for surviving the adolescent years. "The secret," he said, "is to teach them to love to work. If they learn to love to work, you'll not have any problems with them." Love to work? How do you teach anyone to love to work? His answer to that question had to do with role modeling once more: You role model your own job and responsibility and you give them opportunities to work so that they discover the benefits.

The teacher then told the story of his own childhood, of how he used to mow lawns in the neighborhood as a kid. One day an elderly lady, who normally just had him mow the front yard, told him to mow the back yard as well. Unfortunately the grass in the back yard was as tall as he was. The only way to cut it was with a scythe.

Dutifully, this eight year old boy began to swing the scythe in the back yard. Before long, his daddy came by looking for him; all he could see was the blade and handle of the scythe going up and down in the back yard. The dad got out of the car--still in his business suit--and came to the back yard and started helping his son "mow" the back yard. He chose to share in his son's learning experience and turned drudgery for the son into a fun father/son event that neither of them ever forgot.

As I thought about that story, it struck me that God the Father has the same task of getting his children to see his work as more than a chore and drudgery, but as a joy to responsibly embrace. Then I thought about the way he chose to role model joyous service for us--the one and only Son, who role-modeled God's work and then said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father." It's not just adolescents whose lives would be improved by learning to love to work!

John O. York

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