click on link below to listen to the podcast of this post:
Colossians 3:23 In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for men.
One of my fondest childhood memories is making paper dolls with my grandmother. When Grandpap went down for a nap after lunch, out came the supplies – cardboard, scissors, fabric scraps, glue, yarn, lace, buttons, ribbons, pens, and sewing box. Then, Grannie and I would sit next to each other, without an inch between us, on her spotless red couch in her dust-free living room.
After cutting the paper dolls from cardboard, we’d sort through the materials looking for the prettiest (and matching) fabrics, laces, and buttons to dress our dolls who were always wearing the biggest of smiles and pigtails made of yarn and ribbons.
We would each carefully cut out dresses, aprons, and all the accessories for our dolls. (Yes, dolls – Grannie would make her doll and help me make mine.) Of course, Grannie’s doll always came out picture-perfect and mine was lovable. But that was the most important part of this activity – love. No matter how droopy, lopsided, or crooked my doll was, I felt proud of it. Because I knew my Grannie was proud of me, no matter what my doll looked like.
All through our times of making paper dolls, reading, setting the table for dinner, cleaning bathrooms, or other chores, Grannie always told me “do your best, Beth, just do your best”. So I tried. I tried then; I’ve tried for nearly 50 years since; I’m trying now.
Colossians 3:23 was one of the first verses I learned as a child – In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for men. My parents and grandparents taught me that principle in choices, actions, and words. This principle was cut into my life long ago as an essential, not just a pretty accessory.
Therefore, since the paper doll years, I’ve tried and worked hard at lots of things. I’ve succeeded at some, while failing at many more. Yet it wasn’t until the past two years, that I found where my trying and working hard made something even more satisfying than the prettiest of paper dolls.
The crafting of ideas into thoughts and then words, both written and spoken.
Most days, I can’t wait until after breakfast, much less lunch, to get out my supplies for this work – Bible, laptop, scraps of paper with notes, and silenced phone. After cutting out the main idea, I love sorting through synonyms, phrases, and word pictures while sitting next to Jesus without an inch between us. All the while, He’s telling me, “do your best, Beth, just do your best”. So I try. And try again and again. Until the ideas, words, and pictures line up in the most beautiful way I can fit them on the page.
Yes, the thoughts are still often lopsided or crooked like my childhood paper dolls. Yes, the ideas on the page aren’t as full as they are in pictures in my head and heart. But I know that I am loved, before, during, and long after the writing. And that’s what I want anyone reading these words to know – Jesus loves you, just like you are now. He’s always loved you and always will.
There’s no need to try and work hard for His love. He’s already given it to and for you in bright red blood at Calvary. And that picture is far more beautiful in reality than words on a page.
Yet that picture becomes life when I try and work hard for His glory, be it in choices, actions, or words. And this life yields joy. A deep joy that increases my love for my Jesus and for others to fall in love with Him. All the while hoping that they too might know the satisfaction of hearing Jesus tell them, “do your best, dear one, just do your best” at whatever work He has for them to do.
Ephesians 2:10. “God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, we are new people so that we would do good works. God planned those good works in advance for us. He had planned for us to live our lives doing them.”
If you’d like to make sure and not miss any blog posts, please click on the link below to sign up:
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.