Overworked, BUT . . . then God said
by Arnold Stobbe with Naomi Epp
Work! Work! Work! There was always work to do. A farmer's life was busy! Bales to make. Machinery to repair. Cows to milk. Cattle to brand. Snow to plow in winter. Water to pump into the cistern in spring. Crops to seed. Hay to cut. Fences to fix. Wheat to combine. It was very difficult not to overwork.
"Come back next week for the results," the doctor told me one summer day. I was hoping he'd give me some pills, and then I'd feel fine again. Lately, I'd work until 10:00 A.M. and have to lay down for a nap. I was 34 years old. This was ridiculous!
Instead of prescribing some pills at my next appointment, the doctor asked me one question after another about my lifestyle. Exasperated, I finally asked, "What's wrong with me?"
"You are healthy, but you do need to slow down and rest more," he answered.
He's implying that I'm overworking, I thought. That hurt! I was MAD!!
I strode briskly out of his office and through the waiting room. Friendly neighbours called out, "Hi!", but I was in no mood to return their greeting. Jumping into my half-ton truck, I drove the 12 miles down the gravel road to our farm home. The doctor says I'm healthy. But I feel so drained. Could it possibly be that I am overworking? I wondered. About four miles from home, I slowed down to a crawl. In my mind, I heard God whisper, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God." (Matthew 6:33)
How do I do that? I wondered. I read the Bible every day. I faithfully give money to the Lord's work. Although I might have been overworking, I still regularly took time for God's Word.
Again God whispered, "Your prayer life is lacking. You need to spend more time with and for Helena and your children, and for doing My work."
"Okay, God. I'll spend more time in prayer. But I want to do it in the morning, and I can't wake up that early."
"Go to bed earlier," God responded. Certainly God had interesting ways of challenging an overworked man! Soon I was waking up early enough to have a wonderful time with the Lord each morning.
"Now, God. You said I need time for Helena. I'll take 20 minutes a day to do whatever job she wants me to do." After that Helena had a request for me each day, and the time it took to do the jobs averaged out to 20 minutes a day! I didn't tell Helena about the 20 minutes a day, only God. It was amazing to an overworked fellow like me to see that I could give so much time to my wife and still get my other work done!
Several years later, in 1967, when our oldest child was 12 years old, I was working in the barn one day, contemplating how I would pay for our nine children's post secondary education. I longed that they would each go to Bible College, and not just for one year, but for 3 or 4 years. How could we ever get enough money to pay for 36 years of college? As I thought and prayed, an idea came to my mind. If we gave each child a calf when he or she turned 12, we could feed it and then sell it when it grew up. With the money from selling the calf, our child could pay for the feed and use the rest to buy more little calves. This we did. Thankfully, a desire to attend Bible College was instilled in the children as they earned money towards their future studies. My wife and I had one more child, and by the time our ten children had completed Grade 12, they each had enough money set aside for four years of Bible College.
Spending more time with and for my children, rather than overworking, was another area in which God had challenged me. What can I do for my children, Lord? I asked. I really wish I had more time for them, but we have dairy cows. The cows need to be milked every morning and every evening, and evenings are the time that the children have their activities.
Naturally, God had the perfect answer - sell the dairy cows and go into buying young calves. This was 1969. I was 40 years old and our oldest child was 14. The dairy cows were sold. For the next 20 years I went to the stock yard sales near the city each fall and bought young calves. I fed them for 6 - 12 months and then sold them to larger feed lots who fed them until they were ready to be butchered. Having no more need to milk cows, I was not so overworked and had time to be with the children and to drive them to their activities.
Five years later, God directed me into making weekly visits to our local hospital, visiting with the patients, reading from the Bible and praying with them. Earlier God had challenged me that I was overworking and should take more time for His work. This was the ministry that God lead me into. As long as we lived on the farm near Borden, I visited in the hospital each Friday for 11 years. This the Lord blessed, and I was blessed, too. Later we moved to Blaine Lake where there was no hospital, and God lead me into other ways of serving Him.
For many years the Lord prompted me in another area of His work - to go into the homes of those who do not know Him and tell them about God. Helena and I had many blessings witnessing in the homes of people in Borden, Radisson, Hafford, and Blaine Lake. The Lord has been good. Now we live in Saskatoon, and again God is giving us opportunities to tell people about how wonderful He is.
Looking back over my life, I admit that at first I was angry when the doctor told me to slow down, but I thank the Lord that the doctor was honest with me. I was overworked. God says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) I wanted more of God's righteousness, but there were so many buts.
When I chose to obey God and change my overworked life style, this verse became very precious to me. It has challenged me, and as I have been obedient in seeking first God's kingdom and His righteousness, I have been greatly blessed not only in my relationships with my wife and children, but also in my relationships with people in each community that we have lived in!!
Other testimonies by Arnold Stobbe:
I Would Like That JOY!
The Burn Patient Who Laughed
"Visit in the Hospital? . . . Not Me!"
Serve Faithfully - God Can Use You!
Our House is on Fire!
A New Church in Town
Going to Heaven!
Working with Western Tract Mission
Back to Index of Hope Testimonies
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