RSS Feed

Tag Archives: working hard

Exhausted

Maybe its me, but the older I become, the harder it is to possess energy.  On certain days of the week, just getting out of bed is an accomplishment, wondering if I want to repeat the endless cycle pf work.  Unless you begin to tap into a higher power,exhaustion is a likely destination.

Fatigue is a byproduct of exhaustion, the result of mental and physical exertion.  Perhaps, this may explain God’s establishment of the Sabbath.  When a driven person goes extended periods without rest, souls will eventually run out of steam.  Subsequently, drain, lethargy and weariness become a reality for those who try to live apart from God, John 15:1-5.

Repetition is a key element of teaching.  Human nature causes most students to forget what they have been taught.  Likewise, authors of the Bible practice this same principle, regularly reminding its readers of past events.  Without being aware of history, individuals will often repeat previous mistakes.  Therefore, if you want to avoid extended periods of exhaustion, pray the words of Psalm 109:22 to lift you out of states of drowsiness.

by Jay Mankus

Waiting for the Harvest

At the end of the growing season, the harvest is the day of reckoning, the process of collecting mature crops from fields.  Once complete, farmers will be able to calculate their bounty and compare it with previous seasons.  The harvest festival, the celebration of the end of the growing season, has evolved into a national holiday Americans call Thanksgiving.  Like a child waiting to unwrap their first present on Christmas morning, the harvest is an adult version of collecting the fruits of hard labor throughout the Spring and Summer.  However, the toughest part remains the waiting.

The Bible speaks to farmers throughout the New Testament, relaying analogies of farming to illustrate biblical truth.  Matthew 9:37-38 refers to the struggles of finding good help.  Either people are too busy or lazy to lend a helping hand, forcing more responsibility upon a few dedicated individuals.  Jesus relied on parables like Matthew 20:1-16 to urge citizens to get involved before the day of harvest is over.  While some can take more credit than others, the pay is the same for everyone.  As farming communities continue to search for reliable workers, Jesus is waiting on his followers to become participants in a spiritual harvest.

Yet, it took a music director from the Old Testament to reveal the secret to experiencing this type of harvest.  According to Psalm 67:3-5, spiritual harvests are conceived through the praise of mankind.  As individuals, families and nations begin to shout for joy, a foundation is established.  This sets the stage for Psalm 67:6, yielding a spiritual harvest like Moses’ promise to Israel in Deuteronomy 28:2.  Therefore, if you find yourself waiting for the harvest, let the praise of the Lord commence.

by Jay Mankus

 

Around the Next Corner

I’ve never been known as a quitter, but the mystery of the future is hard to endure when life isn’t playing out as you expected.  Influenced by instant success early on, I assumed there wouldn’t be surprises around the next corner, causing you to want to turn around or head off in a different direction.  Saturday was one of those days, as impatience brought me to a ledge of despair.  Just as I was about to give up, a glimmer of hope appeared in the distance.

Galatians 6:9-10 contains a similar message to those who begin to think, “what’s the point; why should I waste my time doing good when nothing seems to change?”  This mindset is like the parable of weeds, Matthew 13:24-30, sowed by the devil, trying to convince souls their short term effort isn’t worth the long term gains.  This explains why so many so called Christians fall away from God during their college years, illustrated by the 2014 movie God is Not Dead, with one foot in the world and the other trying to remember what the Bible says.  Perhaps, Jesus’ younger brother was right, writing, “nobody knows what’s around the next corner in life,” James 4:14.

As for me, I was frustrated by a lack of progress at work.  Like Charles Dutton, the janitor at Irish Stadium in the movie Rudy, I allowed bitterness get the best of me.  These negative thoughts prevented me from seeing around the next corner, a compliment and reward for my hard work.  Thus, what started off as a bad day in my view, changed in an instance.  Therefore, don’t let your mind blind you from the gifts from above waiting for you in the future, James 1:17-18.  I look forward to hearing what the Lord is doing in the lives of his children around the next corner.

by Jay Mankus

My Pain is Christ’s Gain

I am not the first to ask why God allows bad things to happen.  Nor will I be the last to demand a response.  However, after one month of complaining, groaning and frustration, I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper to me yesterday, “my pain is Christ’s gain.”

As a former professional athlete, I’ve always been able to rely on my God given talents, to work harder than the next person, regularly experiencing success.  Yet, when your ability to breathe, lift more than 5 pounds and walk is taken away, you become helpless.  Thus, I was placed into a situation where I was vulnerable, forced to depend on Christ’s strength, 2 Corinthians 12:9, to ease my pain.

T-Shirt companies have created similar themes in the past, using God’s Gym instead of Gold’s Gym.  On the back, Jesus is doing a push up with the weight of the world, the cross on his back.  Nonetheless, a conversation on my first day back at work revealed the true reason for my accident.  One of my co-workers was encouraged by posts updating my progress.  Subsequently, without my fall, I wouldn’t have had the material to cover these topics.  Thus, in the end, God allowed my injury, 2 broken ribs, a lacerated liver and internal bleeding to occur so that my pain was Christ’s gain for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

I Don’t Feel Like It Today

After another frustrating day visiting the doctor, sometimes its hard to stay motivated.  When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel like reading the Bible or praying.  Part of me thought, “what’s the point?”  I’ve done everything I can think of and I’m still not cleared to return to work.

Perhaps, this same emotion is experienced by millions of individuals on a daily basis.  Once you bust your butt and work hard without any tangible results, apathy and pessimism often set in.  Thus, staying hopeful is a battle, especially when others around you seem to be better off than yourself.  In these moments, faith must be more than a feeling or else you will collapse under a sea of disappointment.

Despite my initial inclination, I fought through these urges to give God my first fruits, the first hour of my day.  Although I did not receive the outcome I wished for, there is still enough time in this day for my prayer to be answered.  When desperation sets in, the Lord is the only firm foundation remaining, Psalm 28:1.  Within my own uncertainty, I cling to the promise of Psalm 28:7, hoping to leap for joy instead of feeling depressed.

by Jay Mankus

Being Well Rounded or Focusing on One Thing?

As I was beginning to concentrate on specific talents that I possessed, most of the advice I received as a teenager was to become well rounded, taking a break from seasonal activities when the season concluded.  While I was experiencing a multitude of hobbies, I noticed that those individuals who focused on one sport began to surpass my own skill level.  Subsequently, I tended to excel at every sport I played except basketball, yet I never reached a great level, just very good.  Modern travel ball clubs and teams are trying to make the cream of the crop into the very best.

Today, nations across the globe are developing gifted professional athletes through a series of cutting edge schools dedicated to one specific concentration.  Although countries like China have taken this to extremes highlighted by the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, limiting parental visitation to their sports academies, America appears to have fallen way behind the rest of the world.  Instead of indoctrinating students with a well rounded view of political correctness, education should focus on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic.  Time will tell who is correct.

As I get down off my soap box, my role has changed from the student to the guardian.  It’s my turn to pass the torch to the next generation.  Do I allow my 3 kids to encounter various activities or do I push them toward choosing one thing to invest their time and energy?  Part of me is torn, wanting my children to be exposed to opportunities I never had the chance to participate in.  On  the other hand, you can’t teach passion, so in the end, young people will determine their future based upon the choices each makes.  The last thought I has is this: Do you want to be good at many things or do you want to be the best at one specific thing?  God’s blessings to all in 2014 as you ponder if you want to be well rounded or dedicate your time to one thing.

by Jay Mankus

By the Sweat of Your Brow

 

The poor have said, “the rich have won life’s lottery!”  Meanwhile, the middle class are waiting for their big break, a chance for the world to recognize their talents.  On the other hand, the wealthy are trying to keep up with the Joneses, working harder than ever to buy their next show piece.

Whether you are wrestling with poverty, keeping your head above debt or living on cloud 9, everyone makes their living by the sweat of their brow.  Since original sin entered mankind in Genesis 3:17-19, God made life as we know it hard.  Gone are the days of milk and honey, evaporating in a promised land turned to sand.  Like the humidity of a summer sun sapping all your strength, the worries of life can wilt any soul not prepared for unexpected trials.

As I was doing my final touches of yard work before the growing season ends, I was reminded of God’s words in Genesis 3:19.  Yes, even the invincible will experience kryptonite at some point.  This will paralyze your ability to save yourself, leading to the grave, to become like the dust that God formed Adam out of.  In view of this bleak destiny, its vital to make plans for the afterlife, John 14:3.  Therefore, while you have time to breathe, take note of God’s promise in 1 John 5:13-15.  Inquire before you expire.

by Jay Mankus

Faith Like the Jeffersons

In their theme song, Movin’ On Up, 2 African Americans elude to their struggles to achieve the American Dream.  As the lyrics below indicate, George and Louise Jefferson worked their way up from poverty to the upper middle class.  This 70’s sitcom served as a spin off of All in the Family, lasting 11 seasons with an impressive total of 253 episodes.

Movin’ On Up

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’,
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in the big leagues,
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby,
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

For the average middle class family in America, times have gotten tough and if the recent down turn in the economy is any indication, its only going to get worse.  Like the Jefferson’s, I have big dreams for a deluxe apartment in the sky, yet I currently find myself as a lowly peon.  When you start over or begin a new job, you’re at the bottom, looking up at everyone else.  To accomplish your goals, you have to stand out, Philippians 2:14-15, going above and beyond the basic expectations of your employer.

Although you might feel like Cinderella at times, lost and forgotten, you must possess faith like the Jeffersons, Matthew 21:21-22.  Their vision for a better life didn’t happen over night, they had to work for it.  Thus, the next time you feel like you’re not where you want to be, bear down by trusting in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Aim yourself with the attitude of Christ, 1 Peter 4:1-2 and the desires of your heart will be within reach, Jeremiah 29:11.  Keep the faith!

by Jay Mankus

A Caddy’s Life

Having the 2013 United States Open Golf Championship come to Merion, about a 45 minute drive from my current home, brings back fond memories of caddying.  In addition, watching an American Dream, a golf channel special of the life of Lee Trevino, also led me to reflect upon the days I spent working at golf courses.  Nearly one forth of my summers have been invested in caddying in 4 different states and 2 countries.

It all began for me in Chester County, encouraged by a high school friend to introduce myself to the Caddy Master at Concord Country Club in Pennsylvania.  My initial goal was to supplement my grass cutting income.  However, before I knew it, I was working 3-4 days a week, making between $90 and $150 per week each summer.  I still recall receiving my first $100 bill following a member guest, caddying for the Vice-President of Dupont.

From here, I spent 5 seasons at Chagrin Valley Country Club, 45 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  Depending upon the weather, I worked anywhere from 2 days a week to six.  Because of the large membership, double looping, going out once in the morning and afternoon was typical, occurring 2-3 times a week.  With Geauga Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom 15 minutes from my parent’s home, I spent nearly every day on a golf course  and most nights at this park.  A college student could not paint a better picture of fun, sun and muney.

Image

From a life perspective, my manners, people skills and respect for other human beings come from my days as a caddy.  Despite my feelings for the member or guest I was paired with, I was taught to work hard, go the extra mile and keep my mouth shut.  This blue collar position instilled in me a work ethic that I still possess as I start a new career with Amazon.  My prayer is that I will be able to call upon my past experiences so that the prosperity I enjoyed in college will return in the near future.  Before I say goodbye for day, I want to leave you with a parity of the James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain.

A Caddy’s Life

I’ve seen hacks and I’ve seen pain
I’ve seen rainy days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen awful rounds when I could not earn a tip
But I always long to see my pay check

I’ve seen stiffs and I’ve seen fame
I’ve seen bad holes I thought would never come to an end
I’ve seen slow play that would make a snail look good
But I always longed to see that last green

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus
I need your strength to go one more nine
My body can’t stand on its own right now
My knees are aching and my head is on fire
Please send me your Spirit to complete this last nine.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: