You have to clear a lot of brush before you cut down a tree

Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help some people clear some land. Now, I understand this is pretty normal, mundane experience for most people, but for someone who moved here from the city with exactly zero chainsaw hours on his resume, this was a brand new experience for me. Of course, I have seen plenty of movies and documentaries featuring logging and lumberjacks, so I figured I kind of had an idea what I was getting into. You cut into the trunk of the tree, yell “timber” seconds before running for your life as it falls, and then you haul the tree away. Rinse and repeat.

Actually doing the job, however, yielded a much different story. As it turns out, the part where you actually cut down the tree and watch it fall was the easy (admittedly the most fun) part. What I didn’t expect was the massive amount of work just simply clearing the brush and moving the wood. Now I’m not naïve enough to believe it was going to be easy work, and I certainly knew clearing brush and moving the wood would be part of the job. I just didn’t expect clearing the brush to be the majority of the job.  

In our own lives we look forward to those moments where we get to chop the tree down. We eagerly anticipate the promotion at work, the successful graduation day, the moments where our accomplishments become obvious for everyone to see. You know, the kind of moments that everyone else always seems to put on their Facebook feed. Those “chop the tree down” moments, however, are always surrounded by the much more mundane acts of clearing the brush.

It’s the small, everyday, and consistent acts of discipline, work, character, and integrity performed without the attention or accolades of others that make the moments where we chop the trees down possible. Jeanne Mayo said “small acts of seemingly insignificant discipline eventually reap magnificent results.” Every time we see accomplishment in someone, we can know that it is surrounded by a much deeper layer of hard work, follow through, and tough choices made in silence and obscurity that we don’t see.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians “…whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17),” and later on in the same chapter he elaborates “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23).” As believers, everything we do, big or small, mundane or dramatic, are worth giving our all to glorify our Creator. The big moments, however, are impossible until we are willing to work hard through the small, everyday routine moments. There’s always brush to be cleared. 

Rev. Grant Parkki is the Christian Education Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life. Kenai New Life is located at 209 Princess Street in Kenai, with Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with programs for children, youth, and adults at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings. You can find out more about the church and its ministries at kenainewlife.org.

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