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Are You Toiling?

I sat on my swing early this morning imagining how much work I had to do in the garden. All my bushes needed trimming. The peonies had to be cut down, and there was painting I never got done.

Stressful thoughts quickly turned into feeling overwhelmed. Oh, man, so much to do around here. I can’t take care of all this by myself.

The muscles in my back instantly tightened. Within minutes I was in tears. Ever been there?

Then, I became aware of sadness trickling into my heart, and I had the sense my thoughts were grieving the Lord.

I quickly argued my defense. “But, doesn’t it all have to get done, Lord? If I let it go I'll end up with an overgrown yard and a broken-down house."

"Do not toil,” I sensed Him saying.

I didn't understand at first. "Lord, what are you saying?"

"Toil" is not a word I use often. I discovered that the first mention of the word "toil" is in Genesis after Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17).

Toiling is a part of the curse?

The Hebrew word for "toil" (issabon) means sorrow, pain, labor, hardship, toil. (1)

It is the same Hebrew word used in the curse relating to the woman: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow though shalt bring forth children . . ." (Genesis 3:16)

It paints a picture of work done apart from God. I'm sure Adam worked very hard maintaining his garden, but he was constantly in the presence of His Creator. After the curse, hard work only became a sorrowful, labor and hardship.

God wants us to work. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might . . ." He wants me to prune the peonies and rake the leaves, but He doesn't want me to be pressured and stressed about it. Jesus bore the curse for me, so I am not limited to my own strength.

When we walk with Jesus, everything takes on a different flavor. I could see that the sadness I felt was grieving Him because I was forgetting He is my husband, and the One who cares for me.

"Lord, please help me take care of my garden."

Guess what happened? My daughter-in-law called to ask if I had any chores my grandson, Everett, could help me with. He's 13 and is trying to earn some spending money. Everett, and Chapel, came. They cut down the dead plants, raked, carted them up to the compost pile, and carried the patio furniture to the shed. What a blessing! I worked along with them, but I surely didn't toil. It was joyful day and I knew the Lord was behind the whole thing.

Consider the lilies … how they grow, they neither toil nor spin.” (Matthew 6:28)

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11 28-30 NKJV).

Father, show us when we're toiling. Show us how to work in your strength. Thank you that we are yoked together with you. In Jesus name, Amen


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