“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

reflect

Buddy arrived at the farm before sunrise. He was eager to start his jockey apprenticeship.

He found Arnold the trainer in the stables and introduced himself.

“Hi, I’m Buddy,” he said, extending his hand to shake.

Arnold handed him a pitchfork.

“Start shoveling,” he said, nodding his head toward a dank, smelly horse stall. “And after that, spread some fresh hay.”

“But I …”

“And after that, muck the other 14 stalls.”

It wasn’t the welcome Buddy was expecting, but he set to work cleaning stalls. Arnold popped in from time to time to monitor his progress.

Up before sunrise the next morning, Buddy’s 115-pound frame ached and his hands were blistered. When he got to the stables, Arnold handed him a pitchfork again.

“You might want to wear these,” he said, tossing him a pair of leather gloves as he walked off.

Buddy went to work mucking stalls, filling water buckets, pitching hay. He was frustrated. He grew up riding horses on his grandpa’s farm and always dreamed of becoming a jockey, not a stable boy.

After a week of mucking stalls and never getting to ride a horse, Buddy was ready to quit. He pulled Arnold aside one morning.

“I didn’t sign up for this,” he said.

“Buddy, you have to know how to take care of a horse before I can trust you to ride one,” he said. “Sometimes you have to shovel manure before you get to ride a thoroughbred.”

Buddy went back to work.

Sometimes you have to shovel manure before you get to ride a thoroughbred. Or in other words, sometimes you have to pay your dues.

Things just seem to come easy for some people, but the vast majority of us have to pay our dues. We have to spend time working in the muck.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

If you feel like God has placed a dream in your heart, don’t give up on it. Stay faithful and diligent despite your circumstances.

God gave Joseph a dream, but he spent years as a slave and in jail before seeing it fulfilled.

God often tests and refines our character in the times when we feel lost and distraught—the times when we can’t seem to hear His voice.

But His instructions to us have not changed: press on.

Paul said this: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Stand firm. Keep seeking. Keep praying. Be faithful to the task at hand.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).

react

>What dreams has God given you? Have you seen any of them fulfilled?

>Is there someone in your life who seems to be struggling? How can you help him or her?

>What Bible verse encourages you and gives you hope?