Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields.
- 2 Chronicles 32:5
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
- Revelation 2:1-2
For you that don’t know American idioms, a “go-getter” is a rising star. That is a worker who grasps the brass ring because they work hard. King Hezekiah and the people of the church in Ephesus were go-getters because they worked hard and they accomplished great things.
I heard a Jerry Clower story quite some time ago about a friend of his, not Marcel Ledbetter, but another friend. He ran into this old friend and he asked him what he was doing to stay out of trouble. He knew this old fellow hadn’t worked in a long, long time. His friend said, “I’m a go-getter!”
That surprised Jerry. He knew that if this old friend hadn’t changed none, his greatest effort in “going and getting” would be to go to the refrigerator and get a cold beverage. So, he asked his friend, “You have sure come up in the world. I’m proud of you. What is it that you do for a living then?”
His old friend said, “Well, my wife works down at the factory, and every evening about four o’clock, I drive to the factory and go get ‘er.”
When I moved back to Mississippi in the early 90s, we were building a NASA project in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi. The folks that worked there, for the most part, came from other counties in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Most of the rocket scientists came from California with a few from Huntsville, AL. It was my job to establish a training program that would convert the local folks into highly trained, qualified and certified, workers that would build rocket motors to take astronauts into space.
I studied the minimal factory operations in the surrounding counties, none where the plant was. In almost every case, the people that worked in the factories on the floor were women. The factory managers tried hiring men, but they had to shut the plant down for a month starting in late November because it was deer season. The men would rather quit their job than quit hunting. And sometimes, they had to cut back production if the fish were biting.
So, Jerry Clower’s story was probably not made up!
Years later after that project was closed before we ever made the first rocket motor, I was teaching a class at a steel mill in Nebraska. I tried to negotiate a different date for the training. I could be there any time, but I had a couple of assistants that would be unable to teach on the week that the customer wanted the class. The customer told me, “The class has to be that week. The week before is the first week of our annual maintenance shutdown. It is also the beginning of pheasant hunting, and the operators will all be out hunting. The maintenance folks hate it, but they get so much overtime pay during that week of maintenance, while missing pheasant season, that they will, for the following two weeks after the training, they’ll take off without pay just to enjoy the first two weeks of deer season. If they have enough vacation, they might not come back until next year.”
So, I had to shuffle the assistant instructors around and got my boss to fill in. The customer is always right, but this time what he said made sense. You don’t mess with a man’s hunting season.
I thought of these stories, all true, probably even Jerry Clower’s joke, as I drove my wife to dialysis on the day that I wrote this, knowing that I had become Jerry Clower’s friend. In another four hours, I would have to drive to the clinic to go get her, or “get ‘er” in a Southern drawl.
I had been a go getter my whole working career and it never paid off financially, other than avoiding getting laid off on a bunch of occasions. That part of working hard is important.
But God will reward you for hard work.
When I got home from driving my wife to the dialysis center, I turned on the television and a Robert Jeffress sermon was just starting. I decided that I could start my hard work, writing about working hard, after a thirty-minute sermon. Rev. Jeffress talked about how he thought we were approaching the End Times and that all of us who were born-again had work to do. He charged us all in seeing to it that we had spread the word about Jesus, because if the world came to an End tomorrow, there would be a lot of people that might have never heard about Jesus out there.
So, here I am. I went and got my wife, and I came downstairs to the computer to write this story. It may not be much, but if God is willing, there will be people in every time zone around the world that will read it.
Jesus, fully human, fully God, a man who never sinned, died on the cross about 2,000 years ago to pay the sin penalty for you and me. And then Jesus rose from the dead to prove to us all that there is a resurrection from death. God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, so that we could be cleansed of our sin and adopted by God, with God as our Father and Jesus as our Brother. And God promises to be within us and with us until we die and go to be with Him in Heaven, for eternity. And all He asks is that we surrender our will to Him, accepting His will for our lives, basically repenting of our sin and stopping our fight with Him, and trust and believe in Jesus.
And all this story started with me remembering an old joke by Jerry Clower. If you don’t know Jerry Clower (1926-1998), here is a little clip from one of his comedy routines about how he joined the football team at what is now Mississippi State University. And if you ever heard a Jerry Clower entire comedy routine, he always got around to telling the folks about how he loved God. As he might say, “Ain’t God good!!!”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.