Beyond the Bucket

A front-end loader’s bucket has length, width, and depth. Add in a little math with curves and angles, and you find a volume, and that’s what it holds. It can only move so many loads in a day, and that’s all. Mathematicians will tell you if you move 10% faster or put 10% more in the bucket, you will get 10% more done, but sometimes things get in the way, and it doesn’t happen.

We should apply the same logic to our own workday. If you are driving a loader, I just did the math, but at a desk, a task will take a certain amount of time and in the 8 to 5 (or 7 to 7, or 25 or 6 to 4), only so much can get done, and that is all. Those same mathematicians will say if you work just 6 more minutes an hour or become 10% more efficient, you will generate 10% more output, but again, sometimes things get in the way, and it doesn’t happen.

In my line of work, there are hard deadlines, and missed opportunities if they are not met. But sometimes things get in the way, and it doesn’t happen. So why is it so hard to accept? The loader only moves the dirt in the bucket. Who am I to think I can do more? Could I work all hours? Even more than that magic “six minutes”? Perhaps, but at what cost? Does my wife and life pass me by while I chase shiny things? Children grow up way too fast and they’ll never take first steps again.

Our friendly neighborhood front end loader has a certain lifespan, machine-hours until it begins to breakdown. Once broken beyond its usefulness, it is replaced. How much more are we? When cogs in a bigger machine fail to turn, are we not replaced just as easily?

So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.  Ecclesiastes 2:20-23

Solomon knows me better than I do, but he did not stop in the depths of despair.

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God…Ecclesiastes 2:26

The Love of God is not measured in length or width or depth. There is no distance that could suffice. Jesus took bread and few fish and fed thousands, with baskets to spare, so when God empties a loader bucket of Grace upon us, know there is always more where that came from, and He teaches us to do the same. He is our never-ending source of grace and forgiveness no matter how many times we pour it all out.

So set your shoulder for the load God leads you to and work hard, for it is pleasing to Him. When the day is done, leave the front-end loader behind and focus on the real work, the kind that truly matters.


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