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Monday, September 1, 2014
(Labor Day)

Monarch butterflies (Photo by Doris High)
Monarch butterflies (photo by Doris High)

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"A Tribute To A Laboring Man"

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:9). "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8).

As I prepare today's message I hear Brooksyne using what is known as a labor-saving device; a very loud food processor in our kitchen. She's pureeing green peppers to make juice for her jalapeno jam. But much labor is still involved on her part and on the part of many others
as she makes her jams, pie fillings and salsa. We rightly consider the grower but also those involved in transport, warehousing and those who work hard in the food markets. There are many others such as people who made the machinery to plant and harvest the crop and people who make parts for that machinery.

Last week I drove through Lancaster city and saw a familiar sad sight. Several young adult men just hanging out and shooting the breeze early in the morning on the porch of their row house. Now of course I don't know the full story. These men may have jobs at a different time but unquestionably there are scores of people in America and a growing segment who don't and won't work, relying on someone else's labors instead.

That same morning Brooksyne and I drove into a shop that makes machine parts and spoke to Dave who had already been laboring several hours. He is a father with a wife and several children who has a traditional (and Biblical) sensibility that he needs to work to provide for his family.
I thanked Dave for his hard work and personal responsibility.

Gene WeberMost of us in my generation were raised like that with a model of a hard working dad. Of course Mom worked hard also! But as a male my model for hard work, personal responsibility and providing for family came from my dad. Today I want to remember him. He was a laboring man. During the depression he had to quit school so he could help provide for his family. He went off to service in World War 2 and married my Mom in 1944 followed by 4 baby boomers. My dad learned several trades in "the school of hard knocks" and much of his life worked in heating and air conditioning installation and service. Some of my great childhood memories were those of going to work with him.

Labor is a cooperative relationship we have with God. He provides but we have a role in utilizing that provision. In the midst of your activities today consider all that you will view or utilize where some aspect of labor is involved. As you eat your meal consider all whose labor made that possible.

When we work we are expressing obedience to God as we provide for our family. We generally consider the fourth commandment in regard to the Sabbath Day and rest but it also includes these words, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:9). In a commandment primarily known for its teaching on the Sabbath, how vital to also hear the positive command to work.

Our second daily text is so needed in our age of increasing dependency on government and others. "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family…" This was part of the social fabric in previous generations. Paul is not giving a new teaching here but rather a reminder and reinforcement that from Creation the foundational social unit has been the family. In God's design the basic level of provision comes from this family unit. Immediate family would have the sense of parents and children, while relatives would be our extended family as we know it today. This is a pattern we are moving farther and farther away from, surely to society's peril.

Today who can you honor and thank for their hard work?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, today we acknowledge Your command that we are to labor for six days and rest on the Sabbath. In our labor we seek to be productive while also providing for the needs of our family. We thank You for the giftings You have given us to implement in our daily work, for the skills we are able to hone as we labor in our work and for the knowledge You give us to carry out our responsibilities. Today we ask Your blessinsg upon all who labor. In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.

Auto Convoy truck
Brooksyne's Note: Mom was an excellent homemaker who sewed all our clothing, canned many shelves of food every summer that supplied our family of seven with plenty of veggies, beans, pickles and jams. We didn't get them from the produce market but grew them in our huge garden. My dad farmed a little on the side but drew most of his income from being a truck driver and butcher. For many years he drove for Armour Meats. Later, he drove an Auto Convoy for about 25 years. What I liked about Daddy's job is that we children, after we got our driver's license, went with him to the Auto Convoy car lot and drove the brand spanking new Fords right up to the Auto Convoy where we'd park them. Daddy then drove them onto the convoy's ramps, climbed up on the big rig and tied down the vehicles in preparation for his next trip. As I write about this memory I can almost breathe in the new car smell of those vehicles we drove. Though we never could afford a brand new car we at least got a peak of the newest and latest on the market and got to test drive them without having to deal with any car salesman or outstanding car payment. 

Moses statue at Sight and Sound Theater foyer in Lancaster PA
Statue of Moses at Sight and Sound Theater foyer in Lancaster County PA

Friday evening we went to see "Moses" at the Sight and Sound Theater. Like all shows at the theater we were not disapponted and appreciate the efforts to bring the Bible to life using music and drama. We were blessed by unused tickets from a bus group that had come up to see the show from the Freindship Baptist Church in Raleigh North Carolina.

Mailbox tomatoes in Lancaster County PA 8/29/14
Roadside produce is abundantly available here in Lancaster Country PA including these tomatoes at the Stolzfus mailbox for $1.00!

Red cannas in Lancaster County PA 8/29/14
Red Canna Lilies with bronze leaves

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"We'll Work 'Til Jesus Comes"  Video  Gaither Homecoming Singers While this song is probably primarily referring to our work for the Lord I believe a good application is work in general as well!

"Follow You"  Video  Leeland

"Legacy of Love"  Video  David Phelps

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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