Today, we went to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, a home for animals that cannot return to the wild after injury, illness, or time with humans who learned the hard way that squirrels did not make good pets. We showed up just in time to watch feeding time for a gray fox. I expected to see someone hand-feed the fox; instead, she made the fox work for his lunch.
As the young woman stuffed three Kong balls with food and tossed them around the habitat before releasing the fox from a holding area and getting out of the way, a volunteer explained the reason behind their feeding method. They had discovered that animals benefited from hunting for their food as they would in the wild. It was better for them physically and psychologically to smell the food then have the satisfaction of finding it before chowing down. Even when they found the food, they had to work before enjoying it. The fox had to get each morsel out of the Kong balls; a turkey vulture was required to tear open his bag filled with meat; the squirrel reached for a bag tied to a branch and pulled it down. Apparently, animals that got their food delivered in a dish got bored and depressed. They weren't nearly as active or happy and didn't live as long as those that satisfied their God-given instincts.
It made perfect sense to me. As much as I like the luxury of having my needs met the easy way, I would much rather work for them. As I watched a gray squirrel scurry up a branch and snatch his bag of food, I marveled over how the little creature reflected God's plan for each of us.
God didn't place Adam and Eve in the garden and serve them dinner every night; He put them in charge of the garden. Work was not part of the fall, but part of His original design. (Work just got stressful after sin entered the world.)
How amazing! Watching this process reminded me that God doesn't make us work for food, clothing, and other good things to be harsh, but because He knows work benefits all involved. Think of the satisfaction that you get from earning your own money, studying hard for a test and doing well, or participating in a project the benefits someone else.
In the next few weeks, as the school year wraps up and you look forward to how you will spend your summer, challenge yourself to see work as a gift--a God-given need that each of us has. How does your attitude change when you look at work this way?