One Wheelbarrow Load at a Time

A month or so ago we had a “small” construction project at our house. We replaced our front wooden steps with brick ones. The wooden ones had a distinct slant southward, with narrow steps. Structurally and aesthetically they needed to go. Now that all the bricks have been placed we have in our possession about a ton or so of leftover sand. My boys are too old for a sandbox and Amy finds it unbecoming when I play in the large pile with my Tonka trucks so I am in the midst of relocating the sand pile from the front yard to the back.

I do not own a backhoe, a trailer, or a tractor. I do, however, own a wheelbarrow. A couple of weekends ago I decided to take on the pile, one wheelbarrow load at a time. Twenty-six loads later, the pile looks pretty much the same as when I started. I am not sure when I will reach the bottom of the sandbox, but all I can do is focus on this one wheelbarrow load at a time.

Do you ever face anything in your life that is, at least at first glance, overwhelming? There will always be the sink full of dirty dishes or the basket overflowing with laundry, but there are also bigger “chores” before us that are far more ominous. It is the drip of an IV delivering a cocktail of chemotherapy; it is the mounting anxiety of a diminished paycheck and escalating expenses; it is caring for an aging parent or raising a rebellious child.

There are many days I just do not have the strength to read the newspaper or listen to a radio station because all the information being delivered seems so unbearable. We often believe we are commissioned to go and save the world but inside we wonder if we can even save ourselves. Truthfully we can no more save the world than we can save ourselves – that is the work of God and God alone. Jesus spoke to a mountainside of the hungering masses and said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’… and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

Of course these words are not meant to imply that we slovenly disregard personal responsibility let alone living missionally. It invites us to live trustingly with the Creator and not fearfully clinging to our things. Each day we have our own wheelbarrow load of “stuff” to carry. To live life one day at a time is fundamentally a faith issue that God has dominion of our lives in spite of the fact that our stress often leaves us feeling out of control.

We think that when things slow down, then we will get a grip on life’s stress or when we finally haul off all the sand with our wheelbarrows all of life will come together, but this is not so. It seems we are under the delusion, as Scarlet O’Hara of Gone With the Wind phrased it, that “Tomorrow is another day.” I don’t mean to add to your stress, but tomorrow brings no guarantees. We should know that by now. The great philosopher Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame put it well: “I’ve developed a new philosophy…I only dread one day at a time.”

Yet the claim of God is that our worth is based not on what we do or how many trips we make with the proverbial wheelbarrow. Our worth is based on who we are and whose we are. Here is how Jesus phrased it in Luke 12: 24 “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”

Sharing with you in God’s value,

1 Comment

  1. Greg, you recently met my mom at New Hope Baptist Church in Lincolnton. She told me about the island in the Savannah River with the population of donkeys on it. I am a columnist and this sounds like a great story. Can you email me at and tell me more abut this island? My mom enjoyed meeting you by the way. Thanks,

    Tom Poland

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