Three Lessons from Shovelling Snow!

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

Charles Spurgeon
Me and my son Eli

You may not know it to look at me, but I’m not usually a big fan of physical labour.

No, really.

For example, I do not like shovelling snow. But since I didn’t know for sure when we might get plowed out after last night’s storm, I knew I didn’t have much of a choice. So I grabbed my son Eli and out we went, shovels in hand. And although it was not really how I wanted to spend my afternoon, I’m really glad we did it. Especially glad we did it together.

So I thought I’d share three things (I am a Baptist preacher, after all!) about the experience and what it says about perseverance.

When we were around halfway or more up our long driveway, I told Eli that I couldn’t have done it without him. I told him that this is true in two ways. First, it’s a huge job. It would have taken MUCH longer all by myself. The word daunting comes to mind. Second, having him with me helped me persevere. He was an encouragement to me to keep going.

Here’s lesson one. This is also true in life. If we’re going to persevere, we need people who are with us and who encourage us.

We started shovelling at the end of the driveway, because the snow there was deeper and crustier thanks to the snow plow that did our street. It meant starting at the bottom. Looking up the incline of our driveway, it was easy to think this was going to take forever. I joked to Eli, “Well, we should be done by bedtime!”

But as we made our way up the driveway, both of us looked back with surprise and pride at our progress. Seeing how much we’d shovelled was really encouraging. Even though initially we felt like we’d never finish, realizing how much snow we’d cleared out of the way helped us keep at it. And we were in good spirits, joking and making funny comments.

Here’s lesson two. And this is exactly what I told Eli. Don’t focus on how much further you have to go but on how far you’ve already come. This is also true of life when trying to persevere.

The snow was also pretty deep. Because of this I gave Eli some advice. I told him to shovel in layers. Work your way down from the top to the bottom. Otherwise if you always try to put as much snow as possible on your shovel every single time, you’ll tire yourself out. It’s a job that’s going to take awhile, and you’ve got to get to the finish line. Take short breaks. In other words, pace yourself.

Here’s lesson three. Life is a marathon not a sprint. You can’t go at the exact same pace all the time. God designed us to vary our speed. Most of the time, there’s no need to rush. Going through life as hard and as fast as you can all the time will wear you out.

So those are three lessons from shovelling I learned today.

As it happens, the snow plow guy showed up when we were almost done. While I would have breathed a sigh of relief if he had shown up an hour and a half earlier, I’m actually glad he didn’t. I got to spend that time with one of my sons and while it was a lot of work it was also fun. We got plenty of fresh air and exercise. I never would have anticipated that before plunging the shovel into the snow for the first time at the end of our driveway!

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