When things get really hard, I often think back on an experience I had while attending college in Southeastern Idaho. The entire state and the area around the college is famous for potatoes. In the fall when potatoes are harvested, they are placed in cellars built to keep the crops from freezing during the winter and cool during the summer months to prevent spoilage. Many of the farmers hired college students to help during harvest time. During the fall semester of my freshman year several of my friends and I got jobs working at the potato cellar for a local farmer.
I was hired to do a simple job--shovel about 30# of potatoes at a time onto a conveyor belt with a large pitchfork. Those working on the conveyor belt would then sort the potatoes by size and look for ones that did not meet certain quality standards. The potatoes were then fed into burlap sacks that held 100 pounds. What appeared to be a simple job turned out to be far more difficult than I could have imagined. Within a short period of time each pitchfork full of potatoes felt more like lifting bricks. At the end of the first day one of my friends quit. Within a few more days the others decided that money was not all that important. I didn’t quit for two reasons. First, I needed the money badly and had no other way to earn any. The other was that on the other side of the conveyor belt was an old guy doing the same job. He had obviously been doing this kind of manual labor for years and he worked like a steady machine.
For the first few days my motive was to not let an old man past retirement age show me up. Those feelings, however, were replaced with admiration and looking at him as a role model of a hard worker. Each day after work my arms were so sore that I could hardly lift them and my back ached. However, when I wanted to throw down the pitchfork and quit, I would look up and see the old man shoveling away. In time I discovered that I could shovel more and more without tiring and with less soreness. I was also happy to find out that after a few weeks I could out work the old man. In time the owner saw my accomplishment and decided to take me off the shoveling job and give me a raise. Unfortunately, the raise was not a financial one. My new assignment was to move the 100# sacks of potatoes from the end of the conveyor belt into the shipping area by hand. The potatoes were shooting out so fast that every time I would drag one bag across the floor to the shipping area another would be full and waiting. It was then that I discovered what real work was.
As we attempt to achieve the missions we all have in life, we will often find ourselves in situations where hard work is required. The tendency of many is to quit. There are times when we just need to endure and stand firm. An unknown author penned the following: “When Pompeii was destroyed, there were very many buried in the ruins of it, which were afterwards found in very different situations. There were some found who were in the streets, as if they had been attempting to make their escape. There were some found in deep vaults, as if they had gone thither for security. There were some found in lofty chambers; but where did they find the Roman sentinel? They found him standing at the city gate, with his hand still grasping the war weapon, where he had been placed by his captain; and there, while the Heaven threatened him; there, while the earth shook beneath him; there, while the lava stream rolled, he had stood at his post; and there, after a thousand years had passed away, was he found.” So let us stand and do the duty which our captain has placed us.”
When times are hard, we need a role model we can look up to who will remind us that we can do hard things. We need to stand firm and not quit when things get hard.
We need role models in our life to set an example of what happens with hard work.
Doing difficult things become easier over time as our capacity increases.
Those who quit when things get hard lose the blessing that could be obtained with hard work.
Don’t quit a good thing just because it’s difficult. Find a role model that will help inspire you to accomplish great things.