Building a masterpiece of your own life requires hard work. Just this week, I realized that my adult children somehow miraculously learned to have a strong work ethic in our home even though I didn't think I was succeeding in building one. All four have had to work hard at jobs to afford paying for schooling, making it through challenging universities, writing books, creating projects because of lots and lots of hard work.
Throughout the messy days of life, I could not always see what was actually being built. But perhaps just like in a building project, there is sawdust, scattered concrete, nails, glass, debri of every sort, and the finished product is not in view, so it is with our lives. We are indeed building but the building debri is in piles all around our lives, even though a great work is in progress. I will never forget these thoughts that played through my mind as I sat in West Minster Abbey. And like me, Joy was also inspired to great thoughts.
Angel voices echoed back and forth creating an heavenly atmosphere in the ancient shadowy cathedral as the sun began to set. Our eyes peered above to the shimmering lights of the stain glass saints as they seemed to come alive with the sun flowing through them at dusk. Dark shining glaze shined out on the intricate woodwork surrounding the windows, as the trilling organ wrapped its mystique of the bold bass notes around our willing hearts. For a tiny moment, we were swept up to heaven.
Joy, 15, was on her first mission trip with me. Having the opportunity to stop in London for 3 days, before we went to Europe, we took the opportunity to go to Evensong at Westminster Abby. Boys are chosen and trained in an elite private school to perform the closing of the day, evening service at the country's historical cathedral.
We walked quietly, reverently out into the night air and whispered quietly, still in awe of the vast beauty of the evening.
"Mama, I was looking at the cut stones and statues, the intricate carvings of all the wood, the stain class windows all around, the gorgeous tapestries, the brass candlesticks and crosses, and the flowers so elegantly placed throughout the hall. I was struck by how much work, planning, design, skill went into creating such a masterpiece of a historical church."
Any great work of beauty that is excellent requires a vast amount of work and constant care and attention.
"To build a home or marriage on a foundation of ideals requires sacrifice. It demands a lot of work that will never be over. These ideals don't come easily to anyone, but they come through battle. It is an illusion to think that any great work of beauty ever comes naturally. It comes to life little by little by countless days of diligent hard work."
(Own Your Life, Sally Clarkson)
A great life requires the same--hard work and fortitude. For a person to live well, to love deeply, to grow strong in truth, wisdom and knowledge so as to live with understanding, to become skillful at life and providing, to extend the grace of God into a ministry of outreach requires vision, planning and then lots of work and investment of energy and time. To build a godly legacy with children takes a lifetime of sacrifice. To establish a strong marriage requires years of growing selfless, giving deeply of love, compassion, forgiveness and growing in maturity. Integrity of a life that is filled with godly character and maturity requires many years of choosing to take one more faithful step in the direction of God.
To build a home of ideals means a life of sacrifice. It means a lot of work, and it’s never going to be over. These ideals don’t come easily to anyone; they come through battle. It’s an illusion to think that building a place of beauty ever happens naturally to anymore; it happens little by little…through hard work.
To build these habits and values of hard work comes slowly to our children, from young age to young adult. It is the rhythm of working every day that is the key to developing this work ethic in a child-becoming adult. When a child is used to doing chores, completing a school assignment, carrying their load, they will find it easier to take initiative in their work habits as an adult because it will be second nature.
But, you may not think it is taking root in your home.
Sarah just finished her degree at Oxford having completed papers of thousands and thousands of words. Joy is in the midst of completing her Master's Degree and pondering more school after that. Nathan is filming his second movie this summer and has just completed his second book. Joel is writing a book, going to graduate school and working on the side on several music projects.
I never thought I was doing enough to create in them a value for hard work, but we "worked" on it every day and God was doing more in their hearts than it looked like on the surface. Be encouraged!
God has created us so that each person is capable of telling a great story with their lives, if they are willing to commit to living for His glory.
You are the masterpiece in the making, truly! One day, one baby step at a time builds a beautiful life.
Love, wisdom and patience
All of these attributes and more are required to build the great life God designed us to live. The end result of such a life is to bring the healing light of Christ into the midst of our own sphere of influence. But, this great work also satisfies the soul.
Yet, not many become great because not many intentionally dedicate themselves to this eternal work of living and engaging in a great story that will be told throughout eternity.
Yet, all it requires is our will and our faith, as we determine to follow hard after Him every day. God delights in our vigorous engagement of life. And He is there to strongly support us each step of the way.
In 2015, how will you imagine the ways in which God created you to become excellent, holy, set apart for His purposes, by living a story that will inspire generations of your family to want to follow in your steps.
It starts with a heart of obedience, today, in the small things, the challenges, the beautiful deeds that require our best.
Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me." And obeying Him leads to living and exceptional, set aside holy life--available to all of us if we seek Him with all of our heart. How might our worlds be different if we lived into His amazing Spirit's design imprinted with us us to fulfill?
You might enjoy more inspiration by reading more from Own Your Life
This week Sally and Kristen discuss the idea of how we teach our children about the heart of work through companionship in working with us. They discuss the way that our faith and work are connected, how to give our children a kingdom vision for all they labor in, even the ordinary, and about how in a family, we can equip our children in this each day. Then, Kristen is joined by Ruth Simons, who shares about what its like to work from home with six boys, how she and her husband manage their work, their family, and celebrate each day's rewards together.
This week's Bible Memory Printable can be found here: WEEK SIX BIBLE MEMORY