Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar story of a peasant who was wearily shifting heavy stones from one spot to another.
“What are you doing?” a man asked.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” the peasant replied, frustrated at the backbreaking work. “I’m moving rocks.”
Meanwhile, a short distance away, another peasant was wearily shifting heavy stones from one spot to another. The man approached that laborer.
“What are you doing?” asked the man.
This worker smiled, mopping sweat from his forehead.
“I’m building a cathedral.”
Both men were doing laborious work that stretched their muscles, drained their strength, and exhausted their resources. One responded by describing his immediate task. The other responded by describing the big picture toward which he was laboring.
Is your to-do list full? Is your calendar overflowing? Are you overwhelmed, perhaps not by the number of ministry tasks ahead of you, but by their significance? Sometimes the gravity of the labor ahead of us is daunting.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) Paul knew what it was to be weary. He didn’t have a quiet life. Paul was arrested, beaten, put in jail; he was shipwrecked on an island; he was lowered over a town wall in a basket to make a safe getaway. But he knew he wasn’t just moving rocks: the picture was much bigger than that. Paul labored in ministry, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ at any cost.
When Paul traveled around the Mediterranean, he walked one mile at a time; he sailed from one wave to the next. There were no shortcuts. Sometimes, he intended to visit one place, and the Holy Spirit would upend his travel plans and direct him to ministry somewhere else. The former zealot sometimes supported himself by making tents while he trained new believers in the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. Stitch by stitch, mile by mile, the Kingdom of God continued to flourish and grow.
Your ministry happens brick by brick. You can only build with one rock at a time. But your labor is not wasted or fruitless. Rather, God is building new realities you can only glimpse in your ministry to-do list. Don’t grow weary in doing what is right: if you do not give up, you will get to see the effects of your labor.