The scene is all too familiar. My husband is getting ready to walk out the door for work and our three-year old daughter begins to cry out.
Daughter: “Daddy, please don’t leave. You don’t have to go to work.”
My husband: “Oh, sweetie. I’ll be home soon.”
Husband now kneeling: “Come here sweet girl.”
He gives her a kiss and turns to walk out the door. As he looked back at me, he gently covered his mouth and cleared his throat to conceal his tears.
This particular day stood out to me not because she cried, but because he did. I have always been aware that leaving us to work the majority of his day away from us would never be his preference. He works a normal work week averaging forty-five or more hours per week. When he arrives home he has approximately four hours each night to spend with us, two of which are used eating and preparing our children for sleep.
My husband, like many men around the country, works to serve our family and to serve the Lord. He feels a calling to work. He believes it is his God-given responsibility. We see God first supplying work for men in the Garden. Genesis 2: 15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Expounding on this verse, pastor Thabiti Anyabwile writes:
In effect, Adam is to be the priest of the garden. For the remainder of scripture, the phrase “work and take care of” is only used of the temple priests. Perhaps that continuing usage illustrates how sacred a relationship man has to creation in the call to work? It seems safe to say that Adam’s work is part of his worship. Adam is to cultivate the vegetation already there, and he is to protect it from intrusion.
It is good that men should work. It is good that my husband works. But it is no less a sacrifice. We often speak of the labor-intensive, sweat-producing work of a mother. A mother’s work is often quoted as the “toughest job in the world.” I agree. It is tough. It is incredibly important. But perhaps we forget that a man’s work is no-less important, but not only is it important, it takes him away from the very thing that is of utmost importance to him besides the Lord.
I’m thankful for the men who care for their families and work hard and labor and provide (1 Timothy 5:8). Your role is about as thankless as any other. Your sacrifice for your family is a blessing. You are an example to your wife and children of servanthood. Many men work long days and then come home and serve through various means. As Paul says, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Thank you! Thank you for your labor. It is not in vain. We recognize that it is also a sacrifice. Keep sowing; do not grow weary in doing good. One day you will reap, if you do not give up (Galatians 6: 9).
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