Is shoveling rocks hard?

Last Saturday I was able to attend the Denver Rebelution conference with some friends, and it was a great experience. Alex and Brett have a good message, and I appreciated how their father provided a strong foundation of godliness for the whole conference. In short, he said that nothing matters but what we do for Christ.

The next day after church we were fixing up the landscaping in front of our church signboard when a woman came out to see what we were doing. She had come along with us to the Rebelution, and she was very impressed with what she had heard. When she saw what we were doing she exclaimed, “Wow, a day after the Rebelution and we’re already doing hard things!”

I’ve been thinking about that statement for the last two and a half days now, and I’ve realized why it has plagued me: such a statement takes an exclusivity away from such a creed, and decreases its value. I have no problem with shoveling rocks, and neither did any other person who was helping. Shoveling rocks is not really hard. I suppose that’s a subjective statement, but I hope you understand what I mean.

When I think of “Doing Hard Things,” I automatically append “for Christ” in my mind. Paul writes in 2 Timothy, “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs” (2:2a), “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” (2:23), and “…pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2:22).

When I read those verses, what I hear Paul saying is, “guys, just live for Christ. There is no secular.” Paul has also told us to do everything for Christ, and through Christ. Shoveling rocks should be done for Christ, but it’s not hard. We are all different people, but I think we can all define “hard” as something like street evangelism, shameless ownership of the Gospel in every situation, and confession of sin. It is our desire and joy to do these things, but they’re still hard.

To conclude, I simply want to warn about degrading the poignancy of “Do Hard Things.” Sure, there are small hard things such as shoveling rocks, but those are the thankless jobs. I sincerely do not want to see it become another meaningless expression used to guilt-trip children into doing something. I want to keep it as a term describing the joy we have in living abundantly for Christ, and doing every task He sets before us whether Hard or Easy.

I suppose that I should also take some of Paul’s words unto myself: “Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14). I hope this is not what I’m doing, but I believe that I am not. Take it for what it is.

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