Well, okay, actually it IS a four-letter word. But not the bad kind of word.

But sometimes we look at it like it is. We had a work day at our church last Saturday, and since we have a small church there was an even smaller group of people there to do the work. The 80-20 rule applies to churches too — 80 percent of the people skip off on work day and leave the other 20 percent to do the actual work.

There was lots to do, and by early afternoon, we were all getting tired and just a little bit cranky with each other. We were there to do a good job, to do God’s work, and still — we kind of lost sight of the goal — God’s work.

And then in through the door came a ray of sunshine, in the form of a young Chinese girl. Lucy Lu is a missionary from China who was in the area doing some witnessing, saw the church, and came to see if anyone was around.

We were charmed by her open and honest love of Jesus, her frequent declarations of how much He has done in her life, and her fervent desire to witness to her people in China. She has spent the last ten months in America, traveling around, witnessing, learning, studying. And now she is excited to go home and do the work she believes the Lord has called her to. She told us she is surprised by how many Americans do not want to hear about Jesus. She told us she is encouraged because so many of her countrymen do.

Our exhaustion disappeared in an instant as we were reminded of how God is working through the lives of many believers all around the world. Our crankiness melted in the shine of her love for God, and I was reminded of Moses having to cover his face with a veil after he spent time with God.

She came to America to learn to witness and minister, and she witnessed and ministered to us instead.

Our writing is a lot like this young Chinese girl’s decision to share Jesus. It takes dedication, it takes time. To be a good writer, we must be willing to learn, take direction, be corrected, rejected, and criticized. To write well, we must spend long, unrewarded hours in the pursuit of the calling God has placed on our lives.

We must be willing to work.

And sometimes, in the middle of the work, the grind, the sweat and the tears, we too will find a ray of sunshine that completely dispels everything that went before, so that all that remains is the brilliance of the Lord in our lives, in our books, in our words.

And that’s what makes the work worth it. And that’s what gives the work its value.

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