I didn’t sleep very well the first night of the mission trip. I didn’t have that problem last night.
The first night, the unfamiliarity of it all kept me awake, I think. My air mattress wasn’t the same as my bed at home. There were so many different noises, ranging from other people snoring, to whispers between friends, to the normal whirs and bangs of air conditioning in a church gymnasium (in which we slept the first night).
But last night was a totally different story. I fell sleep pretty much the moment I closed my eyes. I don’t think it was because these unfamiliarities were no longer there (although we did switch from the gym to Sunday School rooms), but rather because I was just so exhausted from the day’s work.
Hard work tends to do that.
Today was filled with more hard work.
My group finished the ramp that we’ve been working on all week, as well as some miscellaneous projects inside the building. The girls I brought from my church painted, cleaned, and surveyed a community for a church. We worked hard.
There’s an old hymn that says, “We’ll work ’til Jesus comes.” Life is not meant to be a vacation. While it’s certainly appropriate to rest from work from time to time, or even for an extended period of time in order to be refreshed, most of our lives ought to be spent working.
The work we do over the course of our lives takes many forms. Sometimes it’s at our place of employment, sometimes it’s with friends, serving our church and other churches, sometimes it’s serving the lost in order to show Christ to them.
And oftentimes our work is with our families, raising children, and serving our spouse.
I can’t wait to get home tomorrow. I miss my wife. I miss my kids. I miss my bed. But in going home to be with my family, I don’t for an instant pretend that my work is over.
I will need to have energy to play with my kids. I will need to watch them and give my wife a break, since she’s been taking care of them mostly by herself all week. I will need to do my part in cleaning, and in leading family devotions, and in doing all the other things families do together.
This work, of course, is a joy (or ought to be), just as all the work we do ought to be a joy as we serve the Lord. Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” (NLT)
Whether on a mission trip, or at work, or at home, or anywhere else, we need to serve the Lord enthusiastically.
I’m so greatly looking forward to going home and seeing my family tomorrow, and I’m also looking forward to a little bit of rest. But even as I enjoy these things, I pray that I will continue to work hard as I serve God with joy.