We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
We truly understood the meaning of the Labor Day holiday. Despite staggering heat, humidity and off and on rain, we invested three days of grueling work, building, lifting and securing rafters ten to twelve feet into the air into barn construction. The rain made the long and heavy boards even harder to manage. Because it was all done off the ground, it took extra time to move the ladders or equipment into place. A variety of friends worked alongside us. God seemed to know exactly how many we needed each day and sent willing hands to help. We never lacked for assistance, but everyone had a different opinion of how it should be done. Periodically, we had to stop and debate how the plans should be interpreted. The discussion, particularly in the afternoons when everyone was hot and tired, often became intense. Some of our friends are perfectionists, committed to doing everything carefully and exactly. They use the level and T-square like professionals and nothing is off center when they are done. Others of our friends focus on the end product, “Let’s get that barn built!” Why run a string to make sure the line is straight? Just use more nails to pull the bow out of the boards! Still others choose to express no opinion, seeking only to serve us with their work. Despite their differences, everyone carried the wood, filled the nail aprons, lifted the rafters and held ladders. The work could not have been done without each one of our friends and their own gifts and strengths. This collection of people, some of whom had never met each other, came back each day because of their relationship to us. This common bond gave them the willingness to see the work through despite fatigue, frustration and fiery temperatures. Love is the glue that holds a Christian church through rough times as well. Many times, even in Christian organizations, tempers flare over how decisions are made. Exhaustion from a few people doing all the work can aggravate situations. Frustration can build when everything is not exactly perfect. Anywhere you bring a variety of people together, even though they have a common cause, you are going to see disagreements arise. It is simply human nature. What can keep us from getting mired in that conflict, nursing hurt feelings or becoming angry is to remember the One to whom we owe our very lives. Love enables our friends to climb those ladders, lift the beams and pound the nails as we work our way to constructing a barn. The supernatural love of Jesus was expressed, despite our sin and human frailties, as He climbed that hill, lifted a cross and felt the pain of nails pounded not just into wood, but also through His own hands. When conflict arises, as it no doubt will, we must remember His labor of love and endure. That supernatural love will help us as we labor together even here on this earth.