on value

by Jacob Burson

Being an adult is not near as awesome as my 15 year old self thought it would be.  Don’t get me wrong, the freedom is great, but when I was 15 I don’t recall the pressures of bills and home maintenance… Like busted water heaters.  We noticed a small leak under our water heater a few weeks ago, but the leak was really small.  I knew the day was coming, even though I had laid hands on that gloriously warm tank of water, that it was needing to be replaced… and that day came.  Luckily it wasn’t a huge rupture, so I didn’t have 50 gallons of water to clean up, but it was time to replace it…

We did our shopping and had our water heater picked out… I did my research and watched some videos on youtube and was convinced I could replace the tank myself.. After a day and 3 trips back and forth to Home Depot for supplies, I did it… I replaced the water heater and our home was back to being full mission capable with water that was warm.  Glorious day… But I had a old, busted water heater tank to get rid of.  My options; 1- Haul the tank to the dump and recycle it for free or 2- pay $10 and get a sticker from the city and set it at my curb and they would come pick it up… Pretty good options… Then the voice of my late grandfather said, “Jacob, let’s have a conference”.  My Papa Burson was turning scrap metal into cash decades before it was cool.  As a teen I had taken those trips with him a thousand times from Lawrenceville to Atlanta to the scrap metal yard, turning a pile of scrap into $100, $200, $500… Scrap he had collected for free until he had a load to take… “Free money”.

We have a scrap metal place here in town, so I loaded up my old water heater tank and headed on over in the rain. I waited my turn in line and then pulled on to the scales… I walked to the cashier to get my pre-unload weight and the sights and sounds of my teen years hit me like a bulldozer in a scrap yard.  The clanging steel, the rain on the roof of my truck, the beeping equipment, the mud, the must, the rust… Glorious… Like a cathedral to me.

With a lump in my throat thinking about my Papa I unloaded the tank, weaved around the bulldozers, pulled back on the scale to get my post-load weight, and went to the cashier to get my check… I unloaded a little over 100 pounds of scrap and for my efforts I got a check for $5.60…. I would imagine you think that it was hardly worth the effort and if it would’ve been more than 10 miles from my house, I might agree with you, but that $5.60 brought a smile to my face.  I could hear my Papa say, “Jacob, that’s like finding a $5 bill on the ground and putting it in your pocket.”.

Proverbs 14:23- “In all toil there is profit; but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

Hard work provides life, it always has value.  Not that we always feel that we get compensated fairly or reasonably for the effort we put in to work at home or at the office, but make no mistake about it, hard work provides value to the one who does the work.  My Papa taught me to work hard, not to talk about working hard. I didn’t like it when I was in the middle of it when I was a kid, but it had value.  Value that keeps rising to the surface on just about a daily basis as the years go by.

While the returns may not be immediate, they do give life in that God created us to glorify Him in all that we do and our pursuit towards this call can be most revealed in the middle of putting forth the effort of hard work alongside our brothers and sisters we share life with.