“Thank you for working,” I said to the Cracker Barrel server on one of our recent trips.
She simply smiled and said nothing.
When she returned with our coffee, I asked her, “Do you know why I thanked you for working?”
“I guess you’re hungry,” she replied.
“Well, I am hungry,” I admitted. “But that wasn’t the reason.”
I explained that when we came to the hostess station, we were told there would be a 10-minute wait. When I saw all the empty tables, I asked, “Why?” The hostess explained that they were having trouble hiring people and didn’t have enough servers to operate at full capacity.
“Apparently,” I told our server, “some people would rather collect unemployment and the additional government subsidy, instead of working. So, thank YOU for working.”
She smiled real big. And said, “You’re welcome.” Then explained she had always worked. And didn’t believe in not working when you’re able to do so.
That server received a bigger than usual tip.
Since then I’ve made it a habit of thanking people in the foodservice industry for working. They always appreciate the recognition.
It’s somewhat ironic on this Labor Day when we celebrate work, that so many are content not to work.
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 10 million job openings in the United States. CNBC reported that “there are about 1 million more job openings than people looking for work.”
A sign of our times is “HELP WANTED” signs everywhere. But too many would rather sit home on their….. uh, sofa instead of working.
The Bible has a good bit to say about work.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (Col. 3:22).
“If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).
“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (Eph. 4:28).
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Prov. 10:4).
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thess. 4:11-12).
Here’s what we learn about work.
- Work is a gift from God.
- Work honors the Lord.
- Work like God is your boss.
- Work allows us to earn a living and meet our material needs.
- Work provides the opportunity to help the needy.
- Work is the pathway to profit and financial success
- Work, when shunned, is a shame. Those unwilling to work (who are able to work) don’t deserve to eat.
In his Daybook, Enthusiastic Ideas, Gary Henry observes that work is “more than mere labor–it is labor that adds value to the world…When we’re working, we’re adding ‘something to the common wealth,’ as Emerson put it.”
“You were put on earth to make a contribution,” Rick Warren reminds us in The Purpose Driven Life.
“You weren’t created just to consume resources–to eat, breathe and take up space,” Warren adds. “God designed you to make a difference with your life…You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. God wants you to give something back.”
Work, whether in a high-paying career, a minimum wage job, a volunteer capacity, or in our homes, allows us to serve others. To give back. To make a worthwhile difference.
Sam Ewing was right when he wrote, “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman