Friday, August 18, 2006
I’ll be honest and tell you right up front that I don’t particularly like to work. I like to be a homemaker. Drop a load of money in my bank account and I’ll quit my job tomorrow.
I have been known to say regularly of my job that it is not my life; it’s what I do to finance the important stuff.
That said, I have a problem with folks who complain about or avoid doing their jobs.
I guess we’re pretty blessed to live in a country where we have the opportunity to exchange the work of our hands and minds for money to feed our families and shelter us from the weather. So blessed I think we’ve forgotten that it’s a privilege and not a right to work.
We all know people who put more energy into dodging getting a job than actually working at a job would require. We know people who put great research into understanding “the system” so that they can take advantage of every private and government program out there to avoid taking responsibility for their own health care or daily needs.
I personally know people who make sure that their traceable income stays under the radar so that they still qualify for government assisted medical care for their children.
Shame on them.
But then there are those of us who go to work and spend eight hours a day trying to be invisible or to invent a theory by which specific tasks should not fall to us.
People who, when they hear of a procedural change, immediately start dancing around in their chairs grasping at the reason that they can’t do whatever is being suggested. Or why it makes more sense for someone else to do it.
Shame on them too.
I have a father-in-law approaching eighty years old who works at manual labor in the Tyson chicken packing plant near his home in Alabama. Suffice it to say, this isn’t at the top of anybody’s dream job list.
He does it because my mother-in-law is chronically ill and they need the Blue Cross in addition to the Medicare she receives. He does it because they have bills they have to pay off and they weren’t prepared for an easy retirement.
He is tired. He will tell you he’d like to retire. He’s been retiring “this spring” for ten years now.
But at the end of every conversation about a seventy-something year old man working at the chicken factory my father-in-law says, “Well, thank the Lord that I am still healthy and strong enough to work. I don’t know what we’d have done without Tyson keeping me on.”
He gets it, the privilege of work.
The other day I was talking to someone who had been informed of a few minor changes in their daily duties at work. Nothing overwhelming. A little inconvenient. Stuff that will demand a little more time and cause a little more hustle. They were mad about the changes and stretching to explain why it was unreasonable.
I finally had enough and here was my answer, “Are you gonna cash your check on Friday?”
Of course they are!
Then do the work.
Dear God, Forgive us for considering the privilege of work with resentment. Remind us of the fact that there have been times in this very country when strong men begged for the chance to earn loose change trying to feed their families. Help us to remember that in other countries, small children work in sweat shops struggling to survive. Make us mindful that you have placed us in this blessed nation with the opportunity to go to work and support ourselves. Let us approach our work as our reasonable service in response to our great blessing. Take the work of our days and let us glorify you with our service. In Jesus name, Amen.
A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God...