My first job at eleven years old was manning a massive industrial lawnmower and cutting the huge lawn for our neighborhood swim club. I rose at the crack of early and had to have the grass perfect before the pool opened. I was promised $50 for my labor at the end of the summer. But before school started in the fall, when I went to collect, I discovered the caretaker who had hired me skipped out and stiffed me my money.
In the 54 years I’ve been working since that job, I’ve been a carpenter, sailor, firefighter, miner, paint store clerk, newspaper boy, UPS box sorter, Starbucks barista, pastor, writer, and more. Though I’ve been paid for almost all of those jobs since, sometimes the meaning and reward of each is hard to grasp.
I suspect that may be true for your work as well.
Yet God values your work!
And we can invite God into even the most “mundane” job and ask him the “bless the work of our hands.”
[box] “Whatsoever thy hand finders to do, do it with all thy might.” Ecc. 9:10
“Count seven weeks from the time you put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. And rejoice before the Lord your God.” Duet. 15:9-11[/box]
That’s the heart of the prayer I’m praying for you and encouraging you to pray as well.
A Prayer for Blessing of the Work of our Hands
Our Lord and God,
Not many of us “put a sickle to standing grain” any longer.
The work of our hands seldom carries that sure and sudden of a reward.
Our work rarely consists of golden grain cut, cleaned, sifted, crushed, baked, eaten, and enjoyed. Even symbolically.
Instead it seems our work is sifted into electronic cubbyholes.
It travels from distant hand to distant hand.
We know not the needs and hurts and wants and joys of the people blessed by the works of our hands. There are far too many miles between our hands and theirs.
Our Lord and God,
Show us that the works we perform is needed, wanted, appreciated. Most of all by You!
Please O God,
We place our work in your hands. We consecrate it to you. Invest your Spirit in it.
Take these cups I offer,
these emails I send, these words I teach,
these humans I care for, these medicines I dispense,
these miles I drive,
these people I see and serve,
these nails I pound, these ditches I dig,
claims I process, papers I shuffle,
meals I prepare, clothes I stitch, widgets I make,
messes I clean, words I write,
laws I pass, people I protect,
animals I tend, planet I steward
and connect them with real people and needs in your world.
Bring provision and justice and peace and contentment from what I offer.
Take the work of my hands and like a glistening drop of rain in our world’s rainbow, quench thirsts and bring beauty to your people.
P.S. The Sunday after I told my lawn mowing story in a sermon, a beautiful older man brought me $60. The $50 plus interest! God’s reward for our work may not be instant. But God sees and cares and will reward.