Work Hard & Don’t Give Up

Working hard for Grandma.

I just realized that I skipped a week in my blogs. Last week’s blog should be this weeks, so I am backtracking to when Joseph was working for Potiphar. Whether backtracking or moving steadily forward, God is always with us. He will guide our steps and yes, I think He even guides our missteps when we invite Him to walk with us or at least redeems our missteps.

Do you ever wonder where all your hard work is taking you? You had dreams of where you would be and what you would be doing in life and then it seems that those dreams are taking a long, long time to come to fruition. It could be that there are some dreams you need to let go of, but it may be that you have come up against some circumstances that you just weren’t planning on. Life has thrown you a curveball.

I know as a child I had big dreams. I wanted to be a missionary, nurse, teacher and detective all at the same time. While those childhood dreams were not realistic, I did manage to realize one of those dreams. I am a teacher. Yet becoming a teacher didn’t happen overnight and I am still learning and growing in my profession. I have other dreams that are unfulfilled yet with God’s help, I’m working toward them and then some dreams I have let go of because they weren’t quite right for me.

If you are honest with yourself, I imagine that you too have some dreams that are not yet fulfilled. You may be wondering why when you’ve worked so hard, that your dream is not becoming a reality. Questions might be swirling through your mind, “Why am I still single? Why didn’t my marriage work out? Why didn’t I get that promotion at work that I worked so hard for? Why can’t I find a job in the field that I received my degree in?” I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I do know there is a God who loves you and does have good plans for you even in the midst of very hard times.

Joseph had dreams that were God-given dreams. Did he know they were God-given dreams? I think he knew there was something special about those dreams. I think he realized that God was speaking to him and yet here he was in Potiphar’s house as a servant, working for someone else. His God-given dreams were on hold. Yet he didn’t allow his circumstances to stop him. He continued to honor God and live with integrity. He knew that his integrity before God was more important than his dreams. He worked hard and proved himself a servant who could be trusted and God was with him. God blessed everything he did. Potiphar’s household was blessed because of Joseph.

Did Joseph give up on his dreams? I don’t think so. He may have put them out of his mind for awhile, but he continued to trust God with his story and he worked hard. Life treated him unfairly, but he still chose to respond with integrity.

Can we respond with integrity when life is hard? When things aren’t working out as we hoped and planned they would, can we continue to hope and continue to work hard? With God’s help, I believe that we definitely can.

Don’t give up! Persevere! Release that dream into God’s hands, then work hard with integrity and see what happens. God will either give you a new dream or He will give back the dream you released into His care. You see God has good plans for you. Live life with purpose, integrity and hope. Work hard and don’t give up!

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Dear God,
Thank you for giving my life purpose. You have given me BIG dreams. I pray that those dreams are yours. I want to walk in the purpose that you have for me. I want to do the good work that you have for me to do and I want to love like you love. There are some dreams that I may never realize this side of heaven and that’s okay. More than anything else, I want to live each day to lift up your name and make you known. When I am weary, give me the strength to persevere and work hard. When I wonder why it’s taking so long to realize my dreams, remind me to continue on with integrity and purpose. Whether I am working for myself or for someone else, may I always do my best and not give up until the job is finished. I want the things I do, say and dream to honor you. Show me ways to be a better teacher, mom and grandma. I want the kids in my life to understand that they can always count on you even when life isn’t going quite how they expected. I want them to be people of integrity whatever they do. Teach us Lord, to work hard and never give up as we live and work to honor you. Amen

WHAT IS INTEGRITY & HOW DO WE ENCOURAGE OUR KIDS TO LIVE WITH INTEGRITY?

Integrity is firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values, the quality of being complete or undivided, uprightness of character.
Synonyms: trustworthy, honesty, accountable
Integrity is having a heart that is firm and undivided, living in the completeness of God’s truth. It requires grit and intelligence. It’s knowing ahead of time what your response will be when you are asked to compromise. It’s honesty in action. (This does not fully define integrity, but hopefully you get the idea.)

  • Know and communicate your values to your kids and live by them. Your kids will do what they see you doing.
    • Be honest. Reward and respect honesty in your kids.
      Ask you child if their actions are honoring God and others.
      Teach your child that it’s okay to say, “No!” when someone else wants them to do something that is wrong.
    • INTEGRITY IN THE CLASSROOM
    • Ask questions – “How would you feel if …? What would you do if someone did that to you? What if everyone did that? Good choice, bad choice scenarios are also good ways of helping kids think through different situations.
    • Role play various situations such as what to do when someone takes something away from you.
      • Talk about and reinforce consequences. The consequences might be a time-out or a natural consequence, either way, let your class know that actions have consequences.
      • Keep the classroom rules simple and age-appropriate. You may wish to involve the kids in coming up with some classroom rules or in talking about what the various rules mean.
    • Reward the kids for their courage, hard work, determination, honesty and respect for others.

Kid’s Section

SHARE A STORY: Joseph Works Hard – Genesis 37
One day Joseph’s dad asked him to go see how his brothers were doing. (Say, “Okay Dad!”)

Joseph’s brothers were out in the field taking care of the sheep. They didn’t like him very well. (Shake head.) When they saw him (Put hand by eyes.) coming, they decided they would put him in a big hole, then they decided to send him far, far away. (Spread hands wide out to the sides.) They sold him to some people traveling to Egypt.

In Egypt, Joseph had to work very, very hard for (Pound fists together.) a man named Potiphar. He was a slave to Potiphar which means he had to do whatever Potiphar said. He was lonesome away from home (Make a sad face.) without his family. He may have wondered, “What about my dreams now, God?” But God was with Joseph everyday. (Point upwards.) God helped Joseph even when he had to work hard. (Pound fists together.) God helped him do a good job in everything he did. He blessed Joseph’s work. Joseph knew that God was with him and was helping him. Joseph trusted God.

God will be with you and help you everyday too just like He helped Joseph. He will help you even when you have something hard (Pound fists together.) to do. He will help you at home and away from home. He is always with you.

MEMORIZE: Isaiah 43:5 – (Hold hands like reading a book.)
Do not be afraid – (Show scared face.)
For I am – (Point upwards.)
With you – (Point to self.)

PRAYER:
Dear God,
I’m glad to know that you were with Joseph even when he had hard things to do. I know you will be with me everyday too. Please help me when I have hard things to do. Help me not to be afraid, but to remember you are with me. I love you. Amen

KNOW: God was with Joseph. God will be with me.
TALK ABOUT: Who can you talk to when you need help?
ASK: Who made you? God made me. Who is with you? God is with me. What can you do? I can talk to God when I need help.

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Ask your child to help you with small chores at home this week.
    • Remember to pray and encourage your child to pray when learning something new or when hard things happen. God is with them and has good plans for them.