I was stuck in traffic one morning after dropping my daughter off at school. Normally with this pause I would become frustrated at the delay or pick up my cell phone to pass the time. This day was different. I looked up to find the source of the traffic; a garbage truck with two of the hardest working men I’ve ever seen riding on the back.
They leaped on and off the truck gallantly soaring across the street grabbing trash receptacles like knights slaying dragons. And one thing stood out most—the smiles on their faces as they completed their conquest.
A job they tirelessly and thanklessly performed week after week. A job that many people would approach with slumped shoulders and slow feet. These men performed their jobs like it was a joyous pleasure and it got me thinking…
A joyful heart is good medicine and our greatest ministry.
It reminded me of the Israelites in Egypt. Exodus 1:11-14 explains that the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied. They worked ruthlessly in harsh labor. The hope emerges in Exodus 7:5, “The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” Moses is told when he brings the people out of Egypt, they will worship God on that very mountain.
Have you ever known a person who although they may have been having a bad day, or they were performing a difficult task, did it with a sincere smile and without complaint? I have, and I often wonder what it is that makes them different.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, meaning we’re so stuck in our circumstances that we don’t see the opportunities around us.
You don’t have to be in ministry to minister. Sometimes our greatest mission field is right where we are with the people in front of us.
I love the parable of the treasure in Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his JOY went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
When you’re working for God and not men, your mission field is all around you and the treasure is salvation. When you look at your work as a field ripe for cultivation and harvest, you’re not working for money, material possessions or power — you’re working with purpose. And when you’re alert and intent on making an eternal impact, the result is joy. Nothing else matters!
Right now you may be feeling oppressed in harsh circumstances or hard pressed on every side. You may just be itching for change. But know that you have been assigned this mountain to bring Glory to God as it’s overcome. As you climb the mountain and God stretches his hand to pull you to the top, it will be a testament to others of his faithfulness.
“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be reveled in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
Heather Shipley is a Christian, wife and mother – striving daily to keep priorities exactly in that order. A marketing professional by day with a passion for blogging, sharing hope in God’s word, and encouraging other women to find freedom to live the abundant life God intended. As it commands in 1 Peter 4:10, each of us has a gift that should be used to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace. For Heather, founding Craving God Ministries was just that – a way to use her creative abilities to provide an outlet for other women to share and hear God’s word. A firm believer that God wants us to express our triumphs and hardships to connect with others and glorify His name. Life’s messy. Share your struggles, because you can either encourage someone who’s going through a similar situation, or you might just find someone who’s been there, done that, and can provide Godly wisdom to help you overcome!