After 8 years in ministry, I found myself in a period of transition. It was one of those times when I was waiting to hear from God, and finding a lot of perceived quiet coming from His end. I had left my previous church without knowing what God had for me next. During this time, I had a brief stint working with an irrigation company. Talk about a change in what my days looked like…
We didn’t get into anything too crazy…mostly installing sprinkler systems for apartment complexes and for private residences. My days started earlier than I was used to and sometimes went longer. We were working outside, usually in the full-on summer sun. The normal was for me to be soaked through with sweat by 11am and downing water like never before. At the end of the day, I was wearing clothes that sweat through at least 2 times (if that's possible), covered in dirt and mud, with sore hands, knees, and back……and I loved it!
Now, even though I would not want that to be my permanent job, I found a kind of joy from doing something different; learning new skills and how to work with different people was a good thing. It was healthy for me to disconnect from a church office setting for those few short months and be around “regular” people. I gained fresh perspective and was reminded of the gifts and talents that God had blessed me with.
Having been back in the ministry and church world for several years now, I have to be honest…sometimes I miss those “Irrigation Days.” Not that I would rather be doing that all day every day — but sometimes I miss the simplicity of “Dig a hole there” or “Connect this pipe to that sprinkler head” or “It’s 4 o’clock…we’re done for the day.” Sometimes I just want to be told to dig a ditch from here-to-here and then be left alone. In a lot of aspects, those irrigation days were a lot easier than full-time ministry. You don’t have to think much about digging a ditch or running a pipe. Dirt doesn’t create problems for me to solve. And if it did, I’d just hit it with a pick-ax. You can’t really do that in church. (Although there was that story in the Bible of the woman putting a tent peg through some guy’s skull.)
It’s a gift for me to know that I have the skills and abilities to do work “out in the world”, but I know that my calling is to work for the Church in a ministry capacity. My hope is that through that, I can continue to equip others to serve the Lord through their jobs of doctors, teachers, grocery baggers, construction workers, or whatever else it may be. What I know to be true and place my hope in is the words of Colossians 3:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive your inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23-24