Holding a hard-bristled dish brush in one hand, I stared at my painting contemplating what I was about to do to it, to inflict upon it. I took one last deep breath and then began scrubbing my painting with ferocity and determination. I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – chipping away at the very paint I had purposefully laid upon that canvas. I chiseled away parts of the blue flower petals that I had so carefully composed.
I was on a mission to expose flecks of the aluminum foil squares that I had used as the foundation beneath my painting. It was actually working! It sure was not easy though. Actually, the entire scrubbing process required far more elbow grease than I had anticipated. It also took some time. Nevertheless, I began to be filled with more and more pleasure as the fruit of my labor began to be seen.
As I continued, switching off between arms after one became tired from scrubbing, I remembered a brief verse in the book of Genesis.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis, 2:15)
Wait… Adam had to work when he was living in the Garden of Eden? Yes, he sure did. We (humans) were designed by God to toil, to work (in many different forms of course). Even in Eden, life for Adam and Eve was not without effort.
Sometimes we can become discouraged at our constant toils, wishing life were an endless vacation. However, hard work is often a blessing in disguise. Work gives us pleasure and satisfaction in seeing the products of our labor. Work gives us purpose and a sense of self-worth. Work allows us to find a sense of value and pride in ourselves, often when we need it the most.
So, whatever you do each day – whether it is sowing a field, filing paperwork, waking repeatedly in the night to feed a crying baby, turning wrenches, raising children, flipping burgers, etc. – do it heartily. The fruits of your labor might not be seen right away, but in time you shall be blessed.
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)
You have probably seen old buildings with paintings on the side. Although weathering and age have stripped pieces of those paintings away you can still see the integrity of the images. That was my goal in scrubbing my painting in order to allow the aluminum to peak through. I didn’t want to demolish my work, but instead allow small flecks of foil to add depth, texture and character to the piece.