The Israelites spent 40 years eating manna and never having to work the land or gather the harvest. Upon stepping into the promised land that flowed with milk and honey, this all changed. Yes, the land was fertile and rich, which would heed bountiful crops, but bounty comes at a price. The price was hard work.
Just like the Israelites, we will have to work during our time on Earth. Christians don’t get a pass on working.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
— Colossians 3:23
We are called to work hard.
Every day there is beauty in our work, and every day there is ugliness. Beauty is finishing a project that you have been plugging away at for months. Beauty is your coworker making you a cup of coffee. Beauty is getting an unexpected thank you from someone who is not your biggest fan. We often overlook these gifts, choosing instead to focus on the ugliness. Office politics, unrealistic deadlines, and a mounting to-do list are what get our attention. We think we are alone in the struggle. This just isn’t true.
Jesus was fully human and grew up to be a carpenter. He knew work. He was Immanuel, God with us, and he gave us the Holy Spirit to continue to be with us when he went back to sit at the right hand of God.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
— John 14:26–27 NLT
The Holy Spirit is with us in the everyday ugliness. He is here to give us peace and to remind us of the beauty that exists in the effort. We must focus on that beauty.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
— Philippians 4:8–9