Did you know John Wayne was a singing cowboy early in his career?

In case you don’t know who he was, Wayne starred in movies in the 1930s through the 1970s, many of them westerns. A “B-Western” was typically a low-budget movie. Sometimes the plots were a bit thin, but what really counted was that the good guy won.

The story goes that one day during the Depression, Wayne was walking on the 20th Century Fox movie lot and ran into renowned humorist Will Rogers, who asked the young actor, “How’s it going, kid?” Wayne supposedly began to complain that he was being cast in B-movies, required to sing, and apparently went on and on.

Rogers listened patiently and when Wayne stopped, he said, “You working?” Wayne said, “Yeah.”

Rogers said, “Keep working,” and turned and walked away.

It probably wasn’t the sympathetic ear the Duke had hoped for, but it was nevertheless good advice. Obviously, Wayne took it.

Although it was several years before he became a “big name,” he kept busy, starred in more than 140 motion pictures, was nominated twice for an Academy Award, and won it once. He kept working and his career spanned almost 50 years.

Author Jerry Jenkins says when he sat down to write the first book in the “Left Behind” series, he wasn’t quite sure where to start. He remembered his father’s counsel about two kinds of people in the world: those who try to see how little they have to do to get by, and those who do whatever it takes.

So Jenkins began to do just what it takes — put words on the computer screen. And 16 books later, with 60 million copies in print, he finished the task.

The wise man spoke about people who work hard and “the work of their hands brings them reward” (Proverbs 12:14 NIV).

The rewards are not all financial. Whether you’re an actor, a writer, a bricklayer, or a nurse — whatever you do, do it well. And enjoy the reward of a job well done.

— The Rev. Ron McClung, a former pastor of Owosso Wesleyan Church, now living in Indianapolis, Indiana, currently serves as associate general secretary for the denomination.

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