Saturday, November 28, 2009


An acquaintance recently saw me working on a Christmas present I'm making for a friend. The piece in question was a little labor-intensive, and as he watched me working on it, the acquaintance said he was impressed that I was investing so much effort and creativity into this small project. I explained that putting in the effort was the only way to get the result I wanted.

I'm perfectly willing to admit that I'm lazy sometimes. I've been known to cut corners or do sloppy work on occasion. I may choose to take the easy way out by buying things instead of making them or paying someone else to do tasks I don't want to bother with. There are plenty of things that I do because I have to, but if I don't really care about them, I'm not motivated to put in my best effort. When I am motivated, however, I'm willing to devote a lot of time and attention to getting all the details of a project just right, and I've discovered that love is the strongest motivator in my life. I'll bother with all kinds of picky details and elaborate projects for a chance to touch a loved one's life. When I'm focused on the love I feel for the beneficiary, it's not even a bother anymore. I'm happy to devote hours to these projects, because the whole time I am filled with joy at the happiness my efforts could bring to the people I love.

I don't do everything the hard way, but I like to pull out the stops now and then so that my loved ones can see that I care about them. When you get down to it, Christian love is about bothering to do things that you don't really have to do. I could choose to keep my time, talents, and energy for myself, but when I share it with others I get a chance to be a blessing by sharing God's love. I could go through life doing the minimum required to get by, but when I bother to go above and beyond, I find joy. It's no trouble to put in extra effort when I get a reward in return through the emotional and spiritual boost I feel. Frankly, considering how good it feels to go that extra mile for the benefit of others, I really ought to "bother" more often.

When my loved ones enjoy the things that I invested effort in doing for them, I hope that they understand how happy it makes me feel to do that. It's true that I have sacrificed time, effort, or sometimes even money that I might have used for other pursuits, but I did that because I thought it was worth it. Guilt and obligation are not strong enough motivators to get me to do something special, so if I bothered to go the extra mile, it's because I care. Even if I don't get to enjoy someone's reaction to whatever I have done for them, I always get to enjoy the wonderful feeling inside me as I do the work to prepare the gift. Bothering to give others something special gives me joy, and that's why I do it.

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