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What's Good about Hard Work?

“I have that good tired feeling,” my father would say.

The Wasson family.

“I have that good tired feeling.”

My father always said those words after a long day of physical hard work, such as yard work or working on the car. If it made him sweat and tired him out, but also accomplished something positive, he always said it gave him a “good tired feeling.”

My mother and father served in Nigeria as missionaries for 16 years. On the mission compound where we lived, there was a grease pit where maintenance work could be done on any mission car.

My brothers and I have fond memories of helping my father while he greased and changed the oil, or did other maintenance on our white 1957 Chevy that he kept running in the harsh, tropical environment where we lived. Most of my help involved shining a flashlight on his hands so he could see where he was working. Occasionally, when my focus got sidetracked, he would gently remind me to keep the light shining where his hands were working. But sometimes he let me clean some of the dirty, greasy parts in a shallow pan of gasoline with an old toothbrush he repurposed just for that task. After our work was completed, both of us smelling like the grease pit, I can remember riding home, and in those moments understanding what my father meant by that good, tired feeling. Later, as the family sat around the supper table, just at the right moment, he would proclaim those memorable words, “I have that good tired feeling.” Over the years, it became an expression that helped remind us of our parent’s value of good, honest work, even if the work wasn’t prestigious.

I have a grandson now, and I repeat those cherished words to him after we have been working hard. Maybe someday, he will pass along the value of working hard to his children the way my father did for me and proclaim, “I have that good tired feeling.”

Colossians 3:23 says this about what our attitude towards hard work should be: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

My parents are no longer living, but I am so thankful they taught us the value of hard work and the satisfaction it brings. I still think of my father and fondly reminisce of those days when I too have “that good tired feeling.” 

Ron Wasson resides in Heath, TX

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