In our culture today, so many people complain about hard work. By the way they talk about it, you would think it’s something that should be avoided if at all possible. But wise people know better. It always makes me think back to an incident that happened years ago on our farm here.
Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Ord...

The only way we had to heat our house years ago was with firewood. So in the wintertime, I would cut a lot of it. I was very blessed to have an older man who was retired who would come and help us quite regularly. He always enjoyed coming out to the farm and helping us. Lots of times he would come out once a week in the winter, and we would head to the woods to make firewood. He was a great blessing to us.

He was here one day in early March and, before he left, he asked me a question. “Would it be all right if I brought my nephew, Dave, along next time I come? He’s a foreman on a bridge-building crew, and he’s been laid off all winter. He would like to come help us.” I replied, “Sure, I’m not one to turn down good help.”

The next week came, and they showed up at our farm. We hit it off well right away. Dave was a big, strong guy who looked like he had chosen the right career. Since I had two strong men to help me that day, I decided to harvest a great big, old, twisted-up oak tree that leaned out over one of our fields.

They were ready and eager to go at it. We got the tree cut down and brushed it out and then started cutting it up into hunks of firewood. We loaded the smaller hunks onto our trailer, and the bigger ones we started to split with a maul and wedges. I didn’t own a wood splitter back then, so that was the way we had to do it. Bob did most of the chainsaw work, while Dave and I did the splitting and loading of it.


The sun was getting low in the sky by the time we were down to the last two big hunks of wood to split and load. Dave was all done in; he hadn’t worked this hard in a long time. He was so worn out he got down on his knees to split the last two hunks. I was really worn out too, but I felt bad seeing Dave down on his knees swinging the maul for all he had. I said to Dave, “I can finish that.” His response? “No, this is good for me.”

I was shocked to hear him say that. I replied, “Dave, you’re all worn out; I can finish it.” His response back: “No, this is good for me. The bridge-building operation I work for got sold, and the new owners are coming in next week. I’ve got to be there, and I want to make a good impression on them. I use a maul and wedges often when I’m building bridges.” So I stood back and let him finish splitting those two hard hunks of oak.

Well, we got the wood home, and they were about ready to leave when Dave came up to me and thanked me for letting him come and help us that day. I was surprised, and I thanked him for all his help. I told him I should give him something for all his help that afternoon, but he wouldn’t hear of it. His response, “No, this was good for me.” With that, they left, and I never did see Dave ever again – although, I know he did go on to build many more bridges. And I’m sure he was a fine bridge builder based on my observation of the work ethic he had.

God created all things, and that includes work. Work should be enjoyable, profitable and fulfilling. I find it very fulfilling at the end of a long day when I can look back on it and see what we’ve accomplished. There’s a real satisfaction in it. I know Dave would agree with me on that, even when he was down on his knees swinging my maul.  end mark

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck or order his book at Tom Heck Farm.