Legacy I: Love for Work
|"I miss lolo and lola." ~my son|
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” Proverbs 6:6
The midday sun beat on his back. Slowly he made his way through the field with his faithful carabao. Once again, Moreto found himself following behind that symbol of labor in the Philippines. His father had once again fallen asleep drunk last night, which only means that it was up to him to take the carabao out and work on the field again. His father had done it before and he would do it again as his manner of getting drunk indicated.
Moreto took his straw hat off and wiped the sweat off his brow with his dusty work-hardened hands. He wished his mother would come, then he could take a break off from following the carabao around the field, which he had done since early this morning. Then he saw her. A smile broke through his lips. Yes! It’s lunch time! He hurriedly plowed through the last row of the length of the field that he and his carabao was working on that morning. Later there would be more work. But at the moment, he was going to get some respite from the heat of the midday sun and the hard labor. And off to the shade of the mango tree did he go.
Moreto, as my father was fondly called in his childhood, was one of eight children, and so, most of the responsibility had fallen on his shoulders. He had to work the farm to help feed his younger brothers and sisters. He just couldn’t understand why his father could afford to drink off any money that he had earned, even with all the responsibility and work that had to be done at the farm. He should be working hard himself.
So everyday early in the morning, while most boys and girls were still getting their much-needed rest in order to grow physically, Moreto would wake up, take his carabao out in the quiet of the morning, and into the field. Later, as schoolchildren pass by on their way to school, he would look longingly at them. How he wished he could also go with them, study and learn. But no, there was the more immediate need of helping his parents feed his younger brothers and sisters.
But in the dark and quiet of the dawn, when there was only him and the One who Never Sleeps, he found something special that became the foundation of his life and a treasure he valued dearly. Friendship with God. Out there in the field while the stars above are still twinkling, he had conversations with Him. His thoughts would dwell on the future and he'd ask the Lord questions: What would become of me? Would I be following this carabao all my life? He didn't know it then, but God has plans for him--- big plans, bigger than his short frame. He had no idea what it would be, he just knew that time would come when he had to say goodbye to his beloved carabao and follow the Lord instead, wherever He would lead him.
A few years later, Moreto got the opportunity to leave the farm and go to school by working as he studies. He supported himself through high school, including his other siblings, working a back-bending task of planting rice in the muddy rice paddies and later, in the publishing ministry, selling books filled with truth and sharing God’s message for His people. He was not afraid of responsibility and even hard work. Instead, he took every task as a fulfillment of God’s purpose for him.
From following the carabao, God called my father to follow Him. From walking through the small farm, God took him into a wider, and much greater field. From sowing seeds, God called him to be a sower of His precious Seed of truth, sowing and planting them into people’s hearts. From cultivating agricultural plants, God worked through him by cultivating His growing, living Word in people’s lives, giving them a glimpse of what they will become in Him.
My father has taught me through his life that manual work is a blessing. It ennobles, elevates and disciplines the worker. Any work that we find our hands to do has a purpose of molding us into who our Maker has made us to be.
"At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labor; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God's great plan for our recovery from the Fall." (E. G. White, Education, p. 215).
I hope today as you work, you'll thank God for the blessing of work and find it so.
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