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On the Side - January 2013

How Many Hours Did You Work Last Week?
by Carol Shrader

Wade was in his second year of orthopedic surgery residency. We had three two-year-olds. I was barely finding time to shower much less sit down and fill out the U.S. Census that arrived in our mailbox.

Hence, the kind retired gentleman showing up at my door late one afternoon to um, fill it out for me. Wade happened to arrive home as I was trying to answer the gentleman’s questions while three little ones demanded – in the sweetest way – my attention.

“Go, take care of the kids,” my exhausted husband said. “I’ve got this.”

And so he sat down with the census taker.

I walked to the kitchen to finish supper as the gentleman asked Wade how many hours he had worked the previous week. I stopped, thinking to myself that he should just answer “All. I worked all the hours.” Because in the middle of the trauma service he was currently on, that is how it felt to me.

Wade however, did the math in his head and answered, “128.” The census taker began writing only to look up at Wade with sincere shock and say, “They only give me two squares. Do you mind if I just put 99?”

Wade laughed and said that would be fine.

And I guess it was funny. But I could not help feeling some righteous indignation that my guy didn’t get “credit” for the other 29 hours. It seemed important to me. He worked 128 hours. 128 hours away from me and our kids. I wanted someone to KNOW. I wanted those hours to count. To count for whatever the hours on the census form count for. It seemed important.

I am so thankful that the Bible assures us that God doesn’t just count “two boxes” of our work hours:

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

What a blessing to be reminded that God knows our every effort – and not just how many hours our husbands work, dear ones – He knows how many diapers you have changed, how many meals you have cooked and how many piles of laundry you folded this week.

He knows.

And furthermore, He will not forget. Oh, I could stop right there, my gratitude is so immense.

But the passage goes on. Verses 10-11 say that God wants us to continue – to keep on keeping on:

“We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

So my friends, as we enter this brand new year, can I encourage your heart that whatever God has called you to, do faithfully! My prayer for you is that you will allow God to give you perseverance – that you will find the energy and enthusiasm for every single task knowing that God is counting them, remembering them as love shown to HIM. And because He knows, because He remembers, we will be given the inheritance He has promised us – everlasting life with Him.

Carol Shrader

Carol Shrader remembered to fill out her 2010 census before anyone was sent to her home! She lives with her wonderful Wade in Phoenix, Arizona where her little ones from the 2000 census are now 15 and her baby is 7.