Thorns and Thistles
by Dave Miller
You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow
until you return to the ground,
since you were taken from it.
For you are dust,
and you will return to dust. -- Genesis 3:19 (CSB)
Ever had one of those days where you just thought, “Is anything going to go right?” Yeah, me too. Work is hard, frustrating, and often times repetitive. Whether you are training someone over and over for the same mistake, looking for that right motivation to get your team rolling again, dealing with your bosses ever changing directions, or just trying to make it through the day to get to what you really want, you in some way, at some point will ask, “When will this be successful?”
Success is a funny animal. She is easy to see from the outside looking in. She is hard to feel when you are on the inside with you hands to the plow. She is like the end of rainbow, you can see it but the closer you get the farther it seems. She is a matter of perspective. The one fighting the feeling of failure within, is admired by the dreamer without. No matter the perspective, one thing is for sure: You cannot expect the calling of your work to always work.
Welcome to the result of sin. At one time, Adam could plant a seed, water, nurture and care for the sapling to enjoy a perfect fruit every time. Now we plant a seed, water, nurture, and care to create a hockey puck that is supposed to be an apple.
The joy found in the work doesn’t always have to be dictated by the result of the work. The abundant life is found in the middle of life with Jesus. Without Jesus no abundance.
In Luke 8, the disciples find themselves in the throws of a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee. While they are panicked, Jesus sleeps. While they consider all that is going wrong, Jesus sleeps. When they finally fear enough to wake him, Jesus simply stands, tells the storm to stop and it does. Then he looks around to his disciples and asks, “Where is your faith?” In other words, “Don’t you trust me? I trust the Father and he knows what he is doing.” The disciples no longer feared the wrath of the storm, but instead sat stunned at the one who was with them.
Joy is found in life WITH Jesus. One day the thorns and thistles will be gone. But what makes then good and now good is we are with Jesus. Success is to stay with Jesus, no matter the cost.