Leaders and Hard Work
God is a God who works. In the very first verse of the Bible, we find God at work—creating. Jesus, being God in the flesh, also modeled a life of work and had a lot to say about it. He said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). He added, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17) and “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Work is part of our God-given design. Because we are created in the image of God, and because God is a God of work, we too will work. Adam was given work to do while in the Garden, even before the Fall (Genesis 2:15). Only after the Fall did work become difficult (Genesis 3:17-19).
Leaders work hard and put in long hours. A leader’s work is never done. Expect it. Count on the fact that the easy work is done by others; it’s only the hard work that ends up on your desk or in your inbox. And because leaders work hard, that sense of calling is so important. I must know that God has asked me to assume this leadership in order to embrace the increased demands.
I find the example of Wesley very challenging: “John Wesley averaged three sermons a day for fifty-four years preaching all told more than 44,000 times. In doing this he traveled by horseback and carriage more than 200,000 miles or about 5,000 miles a year.
His published words include a four-volume commentary on the whole bible, a dictionary of the English language, a five-volume work on natural philosophy, a four-volume work on church history; histories of England and Rome; grammars on the Hebrew, Latin, Greek, French and English languages; three works on medicine, six volumes of church music; and seven volumes of sermons and controversial papers. He also edited a library of fifty volumes know as “The Christian Library.”
His daily schedule was as follows. He arose at 4:00 am and worked solidly through to 10:00 pm, allowing brief periods for meals. In the midst of all this work he declared, “I have more hours of private retirement than any man in England.”
At age 83, he was piqued to discover that he could not write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes; and at the age of 86 he was ashamed to admit that he could not preach more than twice a day. In his 86th year, he preached to almost every shire in England and Wales and often rode thirty to fifty miles a day” (Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan).
Let’s work hard so that at the end of our lives we can say, along with Jesus, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).