It's weird living in Virginia. Yesterday we had a long, soaking rain, but today the sun was out and the temps were a perfect 70 degrees. Take a look at this. An unfiltered glimpse of my morning workout. It was pure joy.
After that I drove to Farmville to get in a 6 mile run on the High Bridge Trail.
As I went from the gym to the trail, I thought about why we humans like to do hard things. I mean, isn't it a lot easier to sit on our duffs on a Saturday morning and not even attempt to move? Yes, maybe it's easier -- a lot easier -- but it isn't better. Easy is not the point.
I thought back to the verse I studied this morning in my Bible time -- Col. 1:29.
Here Paul says that he "labors" and "struggles" as he seeks to present everyone mature in Christ. Both Greek verbs ("labor" and "struggle") are metaphors implying great physical exertion. The first is an agricultural metaphor and is used of the farm laborer. The second is an athletic metaphor and is used of the competitor in the Greek games. If you've ever worked in the garden or played sports, you will know exactly what Paul is talking about. Anyone who farms knows just how sweaty an affair it is.
And anyone who's run a 32-mile ultramarathon knows the struggle you go through just to finish the race.
Thankfully, adds Paul, as we labor and struggle to serve Jesus, we do so "with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." To know Christ is to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. And we can experience increasingly that power every day. However, even though Paul had constant access to divine energy, he still had to labor and struggle! The good news is that the Spirit prepares us for the daily grind and also fires us with unusual strength for the special task. Isn't that great?
May God grant us all a full, clear vision for what ministry involves (hard work!) as well as a renewed dependence on Christ for the energy needed to fulfill our ministries!