Last week, Julia introduced Team LIFE’s 2022 stewardship education plan, with its theme, Rooted in Our Neighborhood, Branching Out in Love. This week we focus on L, for labor. One definition of stewardship is “everything we do with everything we have” – in other words, everything we do with our time, our gifts and our resources, including our work.
Psalm 119 refers to the seven times a day that faithful Jews offered praise to God, and those in monastic communities often speak of their work as prayer, intentionally weaving work and spirituality.
Winston Churchill famously observed: We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Making a living is important, and there are justice issues around compensation. What does it say when the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, for example? But we also know the joy of being part of making something big happen through our individual contributions of labor, time and resources.
Work has come a long way from Genesis 3, where it is cited as one of the fringe benefits of failing the Garden of Eden test. Then there is the New Testament passage that the Puritans took note of: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Two millennia later, that verse’s sentiment continues to influence welfare policy.
During World War II, Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay, Why Work?, in which she asserted that, “It is the business of the Church to recognize that the secular vocation, as such, is sacred.” In Sayers’ view, work should be the full expression of a worker’s faculties – the thing in which one finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which one offers oneself to God.
I will be playing hooky this weekend, celebrating my 70th and my daughter Claire’s 33rd birthdays in Los Angeles with my siblings. Please welcome Scott Dolph, who will preside at 9:00 and 11:00, and Leslie Sackett, who will be preaching this week.