When Blessing Others Means Doing The Dirty Work

My first coherent thoughts as I awoke this morning were prayers that the Lord would bless my youngest son, a college student, on his 19th birthday. And that God would show me how to bless my husband.

My Man has had a rough winter. An independent business owner, he’s been missing our sons who have worked alongside him all these years in this business he runs on our family farm. And between engine breakdowns, icy roads and demanding customers, yesterday was a difficult day. Exhaustion showed in his eyes last night when he finally came in for a very late dinner.

So, when I prayed that God would lead me in ways to make this day better, I was thinking a nice, home-cooked meal with a special dessert and maybe a foot rub.

Then at 8:00 a.m., my husband called.

“I hate to ask, but I really need you to come out here and help me,” he said.

I was still in my pajamas. It was frigid out. I had stuff to do.

“Really?” I said. He had to be kidding. My normal contribution to our family business takes place at a desk, on a computer. Sometimes in my pajamas.

But he wasn’t kidding. He needed help. Now.

I quickly changed clothes, pulled on my rubber boots and a couple of layers of coats and gloves. Ten minutes later, I was on my knees in a pile of scrap wood, fishing out silvery pieces of aluminum. Those bits ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????of metal would spell disaster if they got into our wood grinder, and grinding needed to happen soon if my husband was to meet his customers’ orders for dry animal bedding.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I said that little prayer this morning.

When we tell God to use us, send us, lead us, what do we expect the answer to be? Do we envision a task of our choosing? Do we expect to be called on to do something we’re really good at that will earn us praise for our efforts?

Or are we willing to get on our knees and do the dirty work?

I’ve asked God many times to show me how to be a blessing to others. I don’t always think on my own of the ways I could show Jesus’ love to people who need to know how much He cares for them. That I care for them.

Because I’ve asked, He’s led me to a dump in Honduras, to a village in Nicaragua, to a devastated neighborhood in New Orleans……to a snow-covered pile of scrap wood in rural Indiana.

If I believe God has called me to do big things to bless others, how can I not be willing to answer when he sends me do the little things? The words of James, brother to Christ, convicted me when I first applied them to my life many years ago:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?¬†Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.¬†If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-17.

The home-cooked meal, special dessert and foot rub can still be offered to my weary Man today. I can tell him what a hard worker he is and thank him for being a good provider. I can even sing his praises to those who will listen. But today, I think he was most blessed and felt most appreciated by seeing his wife doing the dirty work.


  1. Karen selby

    Ingrid, this was neede for me today. God is definitely teaching me service His way. Thanks.

  2. Brenda L. Yoder, MA (@BeyondPicketFen)

    I can identify. Now my boys help their dad and they don’t remember the times when servicing Ron in these ways was a constant battle for my mind and heart as my days were interrupted. Those days will be here again for us. You’ve shown us a beautiful example of a servant’s heart and the human struggle in the process. Thank you!

  3. Dave Hughes

    Thanks for sharing

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