I crack me up.
Once when I was a kid, someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I told them I just wanted to draw pictures all day.
Later I got to thinking about that. I thought, Well! Isn't THAT lazy ... while everyone else is off at work supporting themselves and their families with REAL jobs, I'll be home drawing pictures and PLAYING all day!
I should get a side gig doing stand up ... I'm funny!
Because drawing pictures, I have since discovered, is seriously hard work!
Now while I will admit to going to bed many nights thinking, That was fun! Can't wait to get up and do that again tomorrow! ... I can't say it was because I felt like I had been playing all day. Most nights I am seriously pooped. And many of those are late nights.
One of my favorite lecturers - a gentleman who will remain nameless - got it wrong. I was frankly shocked, because this particular person is one of my heroes and mentors and I would've thought it impossible for him to flub something so glaringly obvious ... he said that in the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned, Adam's punishment was that he would have to work.
It wasn't the work that was the punishment. Work is a gift. The punishment was that the work would be cursed.
Adam's job was to keep and tend the garden. I've always imagined that before the fall, that job would've consisted mainly in keeping everything under control, because the plants would have been so lush and so robust that they would be growing all over the place ... kind of like when our english ivy wants to climb the side of the house and would cover the house if we didn't keep it trimmed. (Which we don't always, but that's another tale for another day.)
When Adam sinned, God punished him by cursing his work. Now instead of a lush and robust garden he had to work to keep under control, now he would have to work hard to even get it to grow. And now, no matter how hard he worked, it wouldn't always grow for him and, in fact, would produce weeds and thorns and thistles instead of the beautiful plants he wanted.
This is why we struggle so ...
The artists ... trying to get that line right, the color and shading just so, sizing, arranging, making the characters on page 6 look like the same characters on page 11.
And the writers ... searching for the correct words to perfectly express a thought ... where should paragraphs break? ... how to get the meter in the rhyme to flow naturally ... how to introduce an important character ... how to wrap it all up into a satisfying ending ... and what in the heck to even write about??? ... AAARGH!!!
And it's not just us picture book producers ... it's everybody's jobs everywhere.
But even if it's not always easy. Even though we struggle to get the job done. Even if we are still working under that curse ... we are so blessed ... we get to work!
And working means we are providing wealth and sustenance for ourselves and our families while we are also adding service and value to other people and the world at large! And by blessing them, we'll get blessed back ten- and a hundred-fold!
After salvation, I truly believe that our work and purpose is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the way we approach and exercise that gift can be transformative in our lives as well as the people around us.
I wrote about this in another blog early last year, and you'll hear me say it again and again ... and here on this first day of a brand new year, I'm saying it once more.
Our work is a gift. Don't ever underestimate it's value. Don't worry if the whole world doesn't sit up and take notice. Even when it's hard and those thorns and thistles rear their ugly heads. Just get up every day and give it your all. No matter if you're mopping floors or running a corporation. Serve that one person or that one client or that one situation like they're the only one and most important of all ... because they are!
And I hope you'll be the one going to bed tonight thinking, That was fun! Can't wait to get up and do that again tomorrow!