Get a Job!

Genesis 2:15

Today is that day…Monday. Almost universally, Monday is the most hated day of the week. I am at work in my office, and that’s the extent of my exuberance. This day is an exercise of endurance, and all I am called to do is survive. I will be excellent tomorrow. On this particular Monday, though, I find myself reviewing the scope and sequence of my work life.  I remember the day my mother, who felt I was growing too idle for a 14 year old, walked into the house and announced, “I got you a job; you start on Saturday.” Needless to say, I was not ecstatic, but a little spending money sounded agreeable.

Like many other West Texas lads, my first job was simple and straightforward – chopping cotton, aka “hoeing.” For any urbanites who may be reading, it’s actually not the cotton that is chopped, but the weeds that spring up around the cotton. Laborers are dispersed throughout the field and, taking several rows each, work their way from one end of the field to the other, until the acreage is clean. For this day’s work, we earned a few dollars each. To be specific, I think we earned $1.50 per hour. Like any other job, one hopes for advancement, and I was no exception.

From chopping cotton, I expanded my prowess to other agricultural endeavors. I learned to drive a tractor. This was quite a promotion, and what young man doesn’t enjoy sitting astride several tons of machinery. I learned to plow, plant, and harvest at the helm of a John Deere 4020. I learned how to set irrigation tubes, and I learned how to assemble and dismantle center pivot irrigation systems. In kind, my compensation was commensurate to my greater responsibilities – $20.00 a day.  Only once was my income in jeopardy, when I brushed the auger spout of the grain cart against the auger spout of the combine I was shadowing. Fortunately, the spout was rubber, and the only consequence was a stern look from the combine driver.

Tractor

Tractor driving was actually enjoyable, as it allowed me time to think. You do have to pay close attention on the turns, but most of the time, you simply keep the wheels tracking straight and the disc or planter depth steady.  Repetition and routine trend toward boredom, though, at least for me. I decided to branch out from horticulture to business, and I landed a job “managing” a gas station. I thought it odd when the owner warned me about avoiding contact with any vehicles bearing a state emblem.  I was still green, though, so I didn’t ask too many questions.  Besides, I was manger of the gas station AND arcade. I had the magic key to open and operate the pinball machine and jukebox…  without quarters. Who says work can’t be fun!

I admit, there is a slight lazy streak in me, one that has viewed “work” as a four letter word. I much prefer play (ironically, also a four letter word). I have always had a job, though; it’s never been an option. I have to remind myself that work was always part of God’s plan for humans, even if the first vocation was simply gardening.  Work was not a consequence of mankind’s fall. Hard work, unproductive work, that was the curse. The process of investing one’s self into planning a project, pressing through obstacles, and persevering to completion is a blessing – and you even get paid.

In addition to ministry and teaching, my work history includes the following: farm-hand, pump jockey, shoe sales, fast-food cook (KFC and Wendy’s), milking dairy cows (Jersey and Holstein), theater technician (set, sound, and lights), warehouse manager (furniture and wholesale), school bus driver, substitute teacher, carpenter, security guard (armed and unarmed),  motorcycle and boat service writer, fork-lift operator, corpse dresser and hearse driver. Each of these jobs had it’s own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, but they all helped pay the bills and put food on the table.   All things considered, I am thankful for the blessing of being able to work. I prefer it to unemployment. Maybe Monday isn’t so bad after all.

 

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Published in: on July 16, 2018 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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