Among his sons, the work ethic of Ewalt W. Bartel, was his identifying feature… It was one of his most noteworthy characteristics. He worked HARD – and enjoyed it – he found it incredibly satisfying. He would arise before 5 a.m., grab an oatmeal cookie and a glass of milk my mother had put out for him the night before, milk the cows (we had a grade A dairy farm), then jump in the school bus and run his route, arrive back home and clean up the barn, grab a bite of breakfast mom had prepared, then go out and take care of farm work, grab lunch, more farm work, jump in the bus and run his school bus route, come home and milk the cows, clean up the barn, take care of some more farm work, and then end the after what we called “supper” and have his devotions before signing off for the day and going to bed.
All of us boys have watched the sweat pour off of his body as he would tackle a task, hear him grunt with effort, and then go on to another task, and another, and another. He would periodically pause, breathe a deep sigh, smile slightly and say with deep satisfaction… “Well that’s done!” Ewalt W. Bartel found hard work incredibly satisfying… It was part of his persona… His DNA. And I must say, his sons picked up on it and embraced it.
All of this as a prelude for a post promoting “the Lord’s work!” Apostle Paul was not lazy – He and my dad were “soul brothers” when it comes to finding “work” (hard work) satisfying. I must admit, I find some individuals who claim to be in “the Lord’s work” an affront to the Apostle Paul’s example! I’m afraid some use “the ministry” as a front for a life of leisure and recreation. Apostle Paul would be indignant! I’m with Paul… As a professor of ministry courses at a Bible university over the years, I have challenged students, “If you’re not willing to spend long hours, work hard, weep with the hurting, and help the struggling, and study diligently to serve healthy spiritual meals from God’s word, don’t bother to enter “the ministry!”
Want to hear it from the mouth of Apostle Paul himself (with a couple of parenthetical comments from “your’s truly” based upon the Greek language of the original text)… Here it is:
“Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature [complete] in Christ. For this I toil [the Greek word means “to work hard”], struggling [this is a Greek word that literally means “to wrestle” and implies physical, emotional, and spiritual exertion] with all HIS ENERGY [not my strength or energy] that He powerfully works within me.” [In other words, when Apostle Paul was “bone tired” through his efforts in “the Lord’s work” he discovered a supernatural, satisfying, inner strength that would come to him, empower him, buoying him up, and enabling him to press on and complete the tasks the Lord had given him!] (From Colossians 1:28–29 ESV – my comments in brackets)
Gotta tell you… I want to live that way! Ewalt W. Bartel was my human example of a healthy work ethic… Apostle Paul sets the standard for me in “the Lord’s work!” At the end of my life, I want to be able to pause like my Dad, smile and sigh and say, “Well, that’s done!” (i.e. my work for the Lord – my calling as His servant).