Not One Ounce of Good

When I was 15 I worked one summer for a construction company. Now, if you’ve ever been the new guy or gal on the worksite, you tend to get stuck doing jobs no one else wants to do. The real challenge comes when you finish all of these jobs, and your boss catches you doing nothing. “What are you doing?” he asks.

“Well um, ya see, I, uh nuthin, just scratchin my nose,” you stammer.

Then he squints at you like you’re two years old, “I ain’t payin’ you three bucks an hour to scratch your nose. Get to work.”

“But I finished all the work,” you say, before questioning the wisdom in your statement.

“Then make work,” he growls, and stomps off to do something important.

I remember walking around with a dazed expression, picking up nails and putting them back down, then I’d squint at stuff like I was examining it with a purpose in mind, or I’d pick up a cloth and busily start wiping down clean surfaces. That was the longest summer of my life.

Reminds me of King Sisyphus in Greek mythology who, as punishment for his sins, was sent to the underworld, where he was given the task of rolling a giant boulder up a hill. Every time he neared the top of the hill, he’d lose control of the boulder and down he went, to start again, forever.

Truth is, there’s an activity even more pointless and painful than rolling a boulder up a hill over and over again. It wastes time, sucks the life from our years, and does us not one ounce of good.

It’s the most useless make-work project known to man.

Corrie Ten Boom, who was interred in a Nazi prison camp, said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. In Matthew 12:25 Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” None of us, of course. Instead, we are to be anxious for nothing. We are to turn our worries into prayers, letting God know our concerns, giving thanks for all of the good gifts that come from the One who promises to be with us no matter what the future holds. He alone can bring us peace.

So don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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