I realized something yesterday at the gym. After being on the track for an hour, as I was headed out the door, I had no idea what my total lap count was. I knew exactly how many I ran, or more precisely jogged, but I walked a lot more than that. However, the only ones I counted were the ones I ran.
The walked laps were exercise too. They mattered. I did my warm up and cool down, and then I just kept walking to finish out the time we were there. Yet I all but disregarded them.
Maybe sometimes life is like that. We get so focused on what we think we should be doing or achieving that it’s all we see. Then all the other things that we do well don’t matter to us.
Take a stir fry dinner. We focus on the chicken being seasoned and the vegetables cooked just so (if you haven’t tried orange extract, by the way, you should), but what about the rice? I tend to just toss it in the cooker and expect it to work with little expectation. Sure, the chicken and veggies are the tastier part of the meal, but what’s stir fry without rice?
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. – I Corinthians 3:6-7
Whatever the work is that we do for God, we will be rewarded for it. Maybe I invite someone to come to church but they don’t come until they have been asked by someone else too. Both of us did the work, but am I discouraged because I feel like I didn’t really have a part to play in it? Because they didn’t come when I asked?
Maybe I feel like what I should accomplish is to write an inspiring blog post that reaches dozens of people. I pour an hour or more into it, agonize over the wording, and get the picture just right. Then only five people read it. Will I count it as a lap? I should. I did a work. I planted or watered, whichever the case may be, even though I didn’t get the result that I decided was required for it to be a success.
What if God’s definition of success for that article was that it encourage one person through the week? I wonder if often we discourage ourselves because we don’t get the results we think we should.
Let’s acknowledge the work that we do. It’s not up to us to set the standards. God has already done that. Let’s focus on what God’s benchmarks are for ourselves and be realistic about what we are doing for Him. So run, or walk, and count those laps. 🙂
May the Lord bless and keep you,