Jeremy wanted desperately to be helpful. In fact, he had given up several opportunities in order to stay home and help his father. But now Jeremy was incredibly frustrated. It felt as if he wasn’t accomplishing anything. Sure, he had a few small tasks to do, but they were nothing special. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to do something great. And he resented all the circumstances that kept preventing him from fulfilling any of his plans.
As Jeremy entered the barn one day, he stopped short as he heard his brother singing while he worked. Jeremy sighed to himself. He remembered the day when he used to sing while he worked too. What had happened to his joy?
He knew what had happened. Previously, he’d chosen to rejoice, knowing that his father was giving him his daily assignments and had the future all in control. He’d rejoiced in his father’s love and care. But lately—although he never would have acknowledged or worded it this way—he’d begun to doubt his father’s care. He knew that was a pretty foolish thing to do. His father was incredibly wise and smart…and totally loving. Jeremy knew that. Yes, he knew it—but would he live as if he knew it?
Jeremy didn’t quite see how to, but he knew the first step was to repent and start replacing his complaints with praise. Whenever the complaints would fill his mind, he began choosing to say a praise instead. He also began reminding himself of his father’s character and love—and of how faithful his father had always been. Slowly but surely, the cloud began to lift from his heart and a smile crept back once again. Once more, he was content to let his father direct his steps, even if that plan didn’t seem very special at the moment.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Jeremy knew the fields needed planted soon. His mind kept racing to try to figure out what he should plant where. Should they grow potatoes or corn in the backfield? Should they order from Seeds Express or Seeds Forever? How many tomatoes should they plant? The list of decisions went on, and with each additional one, the tension in Jeremy’s heart grew that much bigger. He finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He hurriedly sought out his father.
Jeremy’s father was waiting for him and, as always, listened lovingly as Jeremy poured out his list of decisions. “You know, Jeremy, I’ve already made all those decisions.”
Jeremy looked up in surprise. “You have?”
Jeremy’s father nodded. “A looong time ago. Jeremy, I’ll tell you what to order when. Just seek me and ask what you need to do and be about what I tell you to do.”
Those words lifted a huge weight from Jeremy’s shoulders. No wonder he’d felt so exhausted lately—he’d been trying to do his father’s job! Now how silly was that? His father had it all under control.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Benjamin, that’s not how you feed the pigs. Daniel, would you please try to pay attention to the instructions I printed on how to milk a cow?”
Jeremy’s patience was completely exhausted with his brothers. He wanted desperately for each of his brothers to do a good job—for his father, of course!
And the neighbors—now they were a whole other story. Jeremy wanted them to get to know his father too—he knew that was what his father wanted. But sometimes it felt quite impossible to convince any of them to so much as talk with his father.
Once again, Jeremy was discouraged. And once again, he sought out his father.
His father explained, “My dear son, you’re taking on my job again.”
Jeremy looked at him in surprise. “I am?”
His father nodded. “It’s my job to train your brothers and deal with them if they’re not getting it—it’s just yours to faithfully teach them what I tell you. And it’s my job to get the neighbors to talk to me—it’s just yours to faithfully present to them the truths I gave you to share with them. You can’t control any outcomes; that’s my job. All you can do is faithfully obey what I tell you.”
Once again, a load fell from Jeremy’s shoulders. Oh, when would he learn to stop trying to take over his father’s job!
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6