Lately I’ve been feeling discouraged. I feel like the work I do day after day is endless, thankless and just plain yucky. Some days I feel like I can’t possibly wipe one more poopy bum or deal with one more temper tantrum. I feel like a stable boy whose most important task is to shovel manure- every single day. Now, I know how important it is to have that manure shoveled and I know that if there wasn’t anyone willing to shovel it, then the whole farm would feel (and smell) the effects of that neglect. But that doesn’t make shoveling the manure any easier or any more fulfilling.
So here I am, shoveling away. Most of the time no one even notices that I’m the one clearing out all that yuck. And even if someone does notice they usual don’t bother to thank me. I’m just doing my job, after all. I know this is my part of the Kingdom work. I know that I’m down here in the muck and goo because this is where Jesus wants me to be. I know that the reason I’m lonely here is because there aren’t many others who are willing to be down here, too. And so I’m shoveling manure to the glory of God. There won’t be any glorious mountaintop moments here in the sewage- no, we don’t get any of those down here. I won’t ever be pretty and clean like the other women I see and even if, for a brief moment, I do manage to make myself presentable I’ll only slip and fall in a fresh pile of dung and be right back where I started- right back where I belong.
Yes, I am feeling pretty low right now. No, I don’t always feel like this. But right now I can’t seem to see past my own filthy nose. And yet, there is a tiny voice I still hear- a voice that’s telling me to hang in there and keep on shoveling because Jesus sees it all. He notices the work I do and He sees my face beneath the perpetual layer of grime. And He’s the one standing right next me, knee deep in it all, with a shovel in His hand, too. And I know that someday- maybe years from now, maybe minutes- He will pick me up, straighten out my aching back and gently wipe away all the dung, filth and tears from my face. And then I will hear the words that will make it all worthwhile, “Well done. You did all this for Me and I saw it all- every gross job you did and every hopeless day you faced. You’ve done it all and there’s no more dirty work for you to do. Come now and rest with Me. I’m so proud of you, my beautiful girl.”
Yes, that’s the thought that keeps me plodding along. So now I must pick up my shovel and roll up my sleeves. I’ve got work to do.