Several years ago, my younger brother Dan, sent me a present for my birthday. He was very excited about it and told me to be looking for it to come. That was a little unusual, and when I got the box and saw the size, I was not sure what to expect.
When I opened it, inside was a hand coffee mill.
I was ecstatic! When I called to talk to him about it, he told me he had found it online after much searching and it actually came from Germany. I was so surprised at his very thoughtful gift and asked him how in the world he knew I would love something like that – and he remembered me telling him about Laura Ingalls and the coffee mill she used to save their family from starvation.
When I was little, I read through every single Little House on the Prairie book I could get my hands on, and one of my favorite stories was in The Long Winter. Times were hard – snow came up to the 2nd story windows at times (really!) – and when supplies were running low – all they had stored were hard wheat berries. The family survived by grinding wheat in the hand coffee mill they owned. It made for flour for them to bake and use as they needed. They worked hard grinding up the flour and they survived.
Hard work never goes away. Whether it’s manual labor or focusing and studying for final exams, determination is a big part of working and success in working.
There is a great sense of satisfaction in work done well. I think even with the curse of sin – manual labor, toil, and pain – God softened the blow with allowing us to feel a sense of satisfaction in hard work done well. We work by His strength, but He gives us a sense that our work is worthwhile.
It’s like kneading bread. Now I much prefer quick, easy breads because I can get them baked and start eating them wrap them for gift giving in a jif. But I get a real sense of satisfaction from kneading a pile of warm bread dough and feeling it change under my hands as I work with it and seeing the end results in a light, fluffy loaf of bred.
It’s also like grinding fresh coffee beans. Oh sure, there are super mega fast electric coffee grinders that would have me sipping my favorite beverage in a heart beat – and in my house the faster I get coffee the better. But I would miss the the satisfaction of hearing the sound of the beans pour into the mill cup ~ turning the handle in smooth, rotating motions ~ opening the drawer to find dark brown grounds that smell utterly delectable ~ and then tasting that first rich sip of coffee – ahhhhhhh! What satisfaction!
Like our Creator, who fashioned everything we know and see with His very own hands and pondering it declared it “very good” – we have the inclination to look at our work and declare its goodness as well. Whether it’s a majestic painted work of art, or a folded pile of fresh-smelling laundry – working with our hands is a gift from God. And it is VERY GOOD!