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When You Love What Must Be Done

Blessing or Burden?

Every time I read 1 John 5:3 I stop for a few seconds. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.“ When I read this as a young man, it sounded strange but now that I have a family, it makes much more sense. Over the holidays, I had the privilege to spend time with my kids and grandkids. Since we all live in different cities, there was a lot of work to do to get everyone in the same place. Since my three sons are athletic, there was a lot of work to do to keep everyone fed. Since my grandchildren are 4 and 2, there was a lot of work to do just to keep them entertained and to clean up behind them. Some of the tasks that were required to make our time together possible were:
• Make airline arrangements.
• Prepare the car for travel.
• Pack the car with 5 people’s suitcases and Christmas presents.
• Pack clothes, etc. for a week away from home.
• Buy groceries for 9.
• Clean up toys.
• Prepare 8 dinners, 8 lunches and 9 breakfasts for 9.
• Clean up toys.
• Do dishes 18 times.
• Clean up toys.
• Prepare bread to feed ducks, help my granddaughters get their winter coats on, walk to the lake.
• Carry one of my granddaughters for ½ mile
• Feed ducks at the lake.
• Build a snowman.
• Help my granddaughters slide down a small snow hill.
• Walk back from the lake.
• Carry one of my granddaughters uphill for ½ mile.
And on it goes . . . .
The amazing thing is that none of this seemed hard because I love the people I was doing this for. And that made all the difference. When I am connected to my loved ones and have a mutual environment of love, the work is not burdensome. I simply do what needs to be done without feeling put upon. In the same way, when my love for God is clear, anything He asks of me seems like a privilege rather than a command. The problem comes when I lose focus or connection. Then I feel used, taken advantage of and manipulated. The work hasn’t changed but the weight of the work certainly feels heavier.
I have also noticed a correlation with my profession. When I love what I do, it doesn’t seem like work. When I dislike what I must do, it feels like a chore. I saw this in action over one of the lunches I shared with my family. Two of my sons got out a pad of paper and a pen and started strategizing over football. One of them is coaching in high school and the other one is playing in college. The coach wanted to sharpen his skill so he was asking the player to help him evaluate their defensive scheme. Technically, they were working but you would have never known it watching them. They were animated, energetic and fully engrossed in the conversation. They love what they do so it was not a burden.
The challenge for me now is to allow discomfort to be a reminder. When the work I must do for my family feels like a burden, it means I have lost connection with them. When the work I must do for my profession feels like a burden, it means I have lost sight of the privilege of productivity. When the work I must do in my spiritual growth feels like a burden, I have lost touch with the love God has for me.
May love overshadow everything we need to do this week!

One Response

  1. Another bullseye Bill. Thanks, I needed to hear this today. Hope your holidays were awesome! (Sounds like they were!)

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