Not everyone starts out on the same playing field in life. I was blessed beyond measure to have the parents I was given. My father worked incredibly hard as an electrician all of his life. He would put in a full day’s work at the factory to provide for his family, then come home and often toss the baseball back and forth with me or watch one of my ball games. He worked hard all day and then continued to give – all for the sake of his family. I knew from watching my father that hard work would get you a long way in life.
My parents married when he was 19 and she was 16 and shortly thereafter, they moved to Houston. It would be 10 years before I was born, and during that time, my mother worked at IBM in the keypunch department. She worked hard and was great at what she did. Her supervisors were really impressed by her work ethic and ability. They approached her about a promotion – to become the supervisor of the keypunch department. They asked her if she had her degree, which was a requirement of the position. She told them she was working on it. They went ahead and promoted her and told her to bring her diploma when she finished her degree.
At that moment everyone was excited, but no one knew the specific degree that the other was referring to. My mom had never finished high school and so she was working on completing her GED. Her supervisors were referring to the college degree, which was necessary for the position. They were quite surprised when, later on, she proudly handed them her GED certificate. It was an impossible situation – the position required a college degree and they had already promoted her to it. She was doing so well that they made an exception for my mother. She truly had filled the position without having everything that was needed for it.
I have learned from my parents that hard work and enthusiasm are an important part of achieving anything in life. If my mother had originally known that her supervisors were referring to a college degree, she would have told them from the beginning the reality of her situation. They would have known from the beginning that the promotion was not possible. But she innocently – and truthfully – told them she was working on finishing her degree. Sometimes you just find out along the way that certain things were possible without ever knowing they were impossible in the first place. These are the “grace moments” that God sprinkles throughout our lives. The unplanned moments that can change the course of our lives – yet, on our own knowledge and ability – would not have been possible.
Work hard, find joy and meaning in what you do – and then, give God thanks for all the unexpected blessings that come your way.
Dr. Bob Long, Senior Pastor