Do The Dirty Work

It isn’t the sexiest part of the job and is probably the most under appreciated by those who only see the finished project, but the groundwork makes everything else possible.

Shoveling the never ending pile

When we first arrived in Belize, our host missionary loaded us up and headed for our primary project site. The future campground is on the Western Highway at the 25-mile mark between Belize City and Belmopan. Upon arrival I realized the scope of work in front of us.

Two wooden dorms were in place, though not finished, and a block foundation for the dining hall had been laid. Our main job would be to get that dining hall foundation filled with packed earth and hopefully pour the concrete floor before our five days were up. With none of the power equipment we use in the States for such a job, our main tools would be shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, and hand-tampers.

For the first two days I had either a shovel or wheelbarrow in my hands. Our mound of dirt that needed to fill the interior of the foundation never seemed to move, but we kept shoveling.

By the grace of God and a joyful work ethic shown by the entire crew, we were ready to pour concrete by the end of our second day. We were all exhausted, dirty, and totally excited to be ahead of schedule. Admittedly though, it was tough to see much visual progress after all the effort.

It seems that way in life too. We get a vision for changes or improvements we want to make in our lives and want to see it happen immediately. However, if we are going to do anything of substance, we have to commit to the groundwork first. It is usually slow, hard, and dirty work that doesn’t yield much visual progress, but without this part of the job everything else could crumble.

Our biggest challenge in western society is our lack of patience with results. We shovel in loads of forgiveness or pack in many small disciplines to take us where we want to go, but they do not normally show outside progress right away. Because of the amount of work needed versus the visual evidence of the labor, many of us lose heart and give up.

We must persevere! Just like a building, the groundwork and foundation are the least visible but most necessary part of the structure. Once the groundwork is done, the visual signs begin to show up rapidly.

After the floor was poured and finished we began erecting and pouring columns. By the time we left Belize, all of our groundwork was beginning to support the columns that will hold the roof and make the job of the next crew much easier.

When we press through the grunt work of our lives and get dirty, soon enough we will have a foundation that yields a lifetime of growth and visual progress. Don’t give up when you cannot see results. Keep doing the work and know the effort will pay off.

Be your best,


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