Twenty nine years ago I shared a room with a bloke named Taz. The room was one of three in a house full of young Christian men from around the world. Taz and I hit upon a way of encouraging one another not to sleep in. As befit our circumstances we chose a bible verse to recite to one another should laziness attempt to chain us to our respective beds.
"Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider it's way and be wise..." - Proverbs 6:6-10
I started a new job four weeks ago, following five weeks of unemployment courtesy of being made redundant. I'm working harder now, for slightly less pay, but that is okay. I start work later, and finish later, but I have a little more flexibility. I've gone from a small, poorly run organisation to a large well run one, and I've left the classroom to become a teacher manager. And I love it.
Work is satisfying, stimulating and challenging. Hard work is its own reward: a cliche but nonetheless true. Rest is important. Balance between work and rest can be tricky. My new colleagues have welcomed me, and I sense a friendly, cooperative and supportive environment. They also work hard, and I find all this very encouraging.
We ended the year with a staff Christmas party yesterday, and while most of my workmates were breathing a large collective sigh of relief at having made it through a stressful, difficult year, I was, and am, simply feeling grateful to have been given this job. It has been a testing year for me too, professionally speaking, so I will enjoy the break. Three weeks to spend with my wife and family. Three weeks to reflect on what has been a remarkable year. Three weeks to not think about work. Three weeks to rest, and yet I will not forget the ant: its diligence, its organisation and provision.
Although working hard, being organised and budgeting wisely are admirable, I know that God is Jehovah Jireh, my ultimate provider. This is the main thing I have learned in 2018, but not the only thing.