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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Weber heating and air conditioning
My brother, apparently in a reminiscing mode, found this photo of our dad in his work truck in the early sixties when he had a heating and air conditioning business.

"The Blessing of 'Essential' Workers"

Message summary: Let’s be thankful for all essential work; for our employers, co-workers, and for the strength, skills and know-how that God has given us to live productive and prosperous lives.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Six days shalt thou work" (Exodus 20:9).

Driving into Mount Joy from either direction on Main Street
we pass a large flashing sign that says "Thank You, Essential Workers". It is a reminder of our gratitude for those who continue to work in many fields that we often take for granted.

Of course special lauds are called for at this time to the healthcare and emergency services workers. Then you have store workers who deserve special recognition, if for no other reason than having to wear a mask all day. We consider truck drivers, utility workers, the sanitation workers and so many others carrying out their essential duties.

Many manufacturing companies remain open as an essential service, including several we serve as chaplains. Yesterday I spoke to a company owner who told me his company had equipment on the huge hospital ship Comfort that was based in New York City. Another makes products essential for food production.

Last Saturday we witnessed the rye harvest in the field across from our home, a highly coordinated and efficient process. When it comes to agricultural workers they are the very essence of essential; if they don't work, we don't eat.

But there is a downside in my view to this "essential" designation. That is the implicit sense that other work, if not essential, must be deemed as unessential. We work with a company that installs and services HVAC. Is that unessential? Not when the temps outside are below freezing! Another company installs and repairs roofing. Is that unessential? Not if a storm blew a hole in your roof and water is pouring in!

Now I'm told there are those who are OK with this lengthy, home-bound, non-working quarantine and are in no hurry to get back to work. That's a sad state to be in, while many others would rather be working.

Another serious peeve I have is the very arbitrary way governments may designate work as essential. Here in Pennsylvania the sale of booze is considered essential. Here in Pennsylvania, our governor has the Orwellian notion that abortion, which is the leading cause of death here in the US*¹, is an essential, life-sustaining activity while other elective surgeries, some truly life-saving have been postponed and cancelled! Our governor is very committed to this
and being essentially a worshiper of Molech*² even vetoing a bill not fully supportive of his abortion extremism. Also here in Pennsylvania the marijuana shops are open as essential businesses and of course the state sponsored gambling ring continues unabated.

Mike Rowe, who had the series "Dirty Jobs" also has a problem with this notion of what constitutes essential. "There’s something tricky with the language going on here, because with regard to an economy, I don’t think there is any such thing as a nonessential worker. This is basically a quilt... and if you start pulling on jobs and tugging on careers over here and over there, the whole thing will bunch up in a weird way." *³

Today let us consider three purposes and blessings of work:

1) Our work is a means of honoring God as we acknowledge and follow the pattern and cycle established by God at creation. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11). The fourth commandment is usually summarized, “Remember the  Sabbath day, to keep it holy” However the text continues, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work". Thus a proper understanding of the fourth commandment is both a command to rest and a command to work. Now so many ignore one or both of these commands!

2) Our work is a means in which we provide for our needs and that of our family. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need” (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12). In fact, later in his second book to the Thessalonians, Paul emphasized this need for personal responsibility and sober consequences for disobedience, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). The KJV uses the word “infidel”.

3) Our work is a means in which we may be useful and productive to society.Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

God has ordained that humans be involved in useful and productive work. The “something to share” may be the benefit of the product or service we labor for or the wages received for the labor and the ability to share them. We consider all who work to provide a useful product or service.

Albert Lee writes, “In Ephesians 4:17-32, we are given a list of actions that characterize those who belong to Christ. Included in the list is the command to work for a living. The motivation given for work was not to accumulate wealth but to have something to share with others. From the Biblical perspective, therefore, work is useful and most fulfilling when it enables us to help others. Our work does have meaning, especially when we realize that it is God-given, and that we please Him when we share its fruit with others.”

Let’s be thankful for all work; for our employers, co-workers, and for the strength, skills and know-how that God has given us to live productive and prosperous lives. It is our thoughts that people who want to work will use the safety guidelines to combat the dangerous virus even as they work to make a living. All companies establish safety rules and from time to time or during various procedures safety rules are reviewed and if needed they are revised to deal with the current dangers of their workplace. May the Lord grant both our government and corporate leaders wisdom and common sense.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You teach us to work, to do something useful with our hands, that we may care for our own as well as sharing with those in need. Help us to be mindful of the daily blessing of health and strength that makes it possible for us to be productive, contributing members of our society.  Help us to recognize the blessing of labor and do our work heartily as for You, knowing that it is from You that we receive Your blessing through our obedience. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Christ Is All"  Video  Matt Boswell · Matt Papa

"Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call (Psalm 42)"  Video  Matt Boswell · Matt Papa

Here are some photos from the Rye harvest last Saturday in the field across from our home.

Rye harvest in Lancaster County 5/2/20
Several days prior to this, the rye was cut and raked out for it to dry. The next to last step was a merger which placed the cut rye in windrows.

Rye harvest in Lancaster County 5/2/20
From the back yard view: The harvester loads the rye into one of four trailers to transport the rye back to the farm where it will be used to feed a 1,000 cow milking operation. High producing dairy cows will eat 110 to 120 pounds of wet feed a day or 50 to 55 pounds of dry matter (DM) a day.

Rye harvest in Lancaster County 5/2/20
We were out the evening of the harvest so Ester captured several photos including the coordination between the harvester and the tractors which is essential. Ideally, another tractor with trailer will be right behind when full and the machine only stops for a few seconds as the other trailer drives up under it.

Rye harvest in Lancaster County 5/2/20
The trailers hold a lot of material!

Finally today:

James discharge from hospital 5/2/20
For over 17 years we have been very close to the Lapp family and often feature pictures of the windmill, barn and animals on the Old Windmill Farm. We met Jesse and Anna Ruth right after they got married and became our neighbors here on Kraybill Church Road. In recent years we've even taken on the loving role of grandparent figures in the seven children's lives. Stephen was especially heartened when the Lapps chose to name their youngest (now 2½ years old) after him. The children have biological grandparents but ours is simply a loving role and they seem to enjoy it as well. Ester refers to her relationship with them as "Auntie Ester".

Thirteen year old Eli James, called Jamie, injured his left arm requiring surgery to repair a severe cut. His recovery will be lengthy and testy for a very active 13 year old Amish boy accustomed to a life of adventure. He is one of the favorite tour guides on the Old Windmill Farm.

For those of you who enjoy sending Get Well cards his address is:

James Lapp
262 Paradise Lane,
Ronks, PA 17572

Or for those who might like to send a brief email to Jamie send it to our address (scweber@dailyencouragement.net) and we will compile all the responses, print them out and take to James. He would probably find it interesting if you share where you are from.

Thank you for your consideration.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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