Today is labor day. A holiday, at least for me it is.
I rose early to find the fruit of my 4 labors snuggled under blankets, sleeping soundly. For the first time in a few years, they are all living at home. At least for another couple of weeks, I have all four living at home, but for the last time. My oldest will be married soon.
I looked around the house. I labored hard in it last week, but there is no fruit of any labor! That's par for the course. For the last 3 days, my house has been terrorized by 2 ornery dogs, 4 of my own children plus 4 neighbor kids zigging and zagging in and out of the house engaged in a very serious air soft competition. My kitchen sink has been stacked with dirty dishes in spite of the continual cleanings. Who can compete with 8 teenagers getting drinks, making soup, eating ramen noodles, and baking several types of cookies-the fruits of which last a little under 5 minutes? If I have to choose, I'll take the teens and all their mess any day.
I went to a bridal shower for one of the young women in our church. I have known her since she was small. In fact, there were many young women there whom I have known since they were small. I babysat them, gave them free piano lessons, taught them in Sunday school, fed and cared for them when they were playing with my children, prayed for them, went to the emergency room with them, helped them in times when they were uncertain, confused or discouraged. And there they were. Grown women of God. Fruit that remains. Products of Godly parents. Products of fervent, effective prayer. Products of years of ministry for my husband and I. (I don't even begin to claim sole credit for how they turned out, but I know that in some small way, our ministry has helped.) Women who now have children of their own. Yes, the hard times of ministry just fade into nothingness when you spend just a few hours with these women. Some fruits of my labor.
I looked on my couch and sitting there was a young man who will soon be my son-in-law. Fruit of prayer. Even when my daughter was still a babe, prayers were prayed for her husband. Prayers for a Godly man, one like my husband. Prayers for a compassionate man, but one with common sense. Prayers for a patient man, but one with backbone. God answered every request.
I looked at my husband. I am his helpmate. Funny, living with him, helping him, caring for his needs, loving him is no labor at all. It's my joy and privilege every day. He always says that we should find a job that we love because God wants us to enjoy our work. Boy, do I ever!
After taking a few moments to reflect on all my labors, I realize that my labors are blessed. They are not in vain. Some, although necessary are less fruitful in the here and now, but all are playing a part in eternity-even the dirty dishes. After taking time to reflect, jumping back into tomorrow's labors is something to look forward to.