Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A labor of love

Labor day is usually a sign of many things in our culture. It symbolizes a break from the start of the school year for some. For others it marks the end of summer. For yet others, it is a reminder that a myriad of holidays is right around the corner and the year will be over. For some it is either a time to be thankful for working, a reminder of work or a time to be looking and praying for work in the the newly coined phrase "in this economy".

Any economy has boundless opportunities whether our focus is broad and flexible or narrow and focused. The definition and the attributes of the work and it's remuneration is what stress us sometimes. That definition which is created by our broad and narrow subcultures can imprison us if we allow it too.

Taking some time off or retiring early are rarely seen as options even though a lot of us don't have familial obligations. It seems fear is an equal opportunity visitor no matter what the financial condition of the individual. If you have a job and are afraid of losing it, if you don't have a job and want one, if you are taking time off and worry about what is next, if you are retired and worry about a health concern or worry if you have enough resources to last if you should live a long life. We all seem to be so tempted to live in the future and a possible bleak one to boot.

I certainly don't advocate throwing caution to the wind and not trying to plan. But there is only so much control you have. Labor, the remunerated kind, for me has rarely been about a labor of love. First, it was about making as much money as I could in a pragmatic way with my marketable skills. Then it was about finding something fulfilling or a passion that made economic sense. The call to teach in a public school system or in a church or in your own business or in some other capacity look different and teach you different things. Despite how passionately I felt about what I taught and about the children, I always cloaked it with the highest return on investment.

I've always relied on and admired my pragmatic nature. It has ruled my work and my relationships. But at many points during my journey, my heart pulled my elsewhere. In a sense, perhaps, my pragmatic nature has pulled me away from some potentially fulfilling relationships and from following my true vocational call.

So here I am at a crossroads--not by my own choice--because my pragmatic-ism would not have allowed it--but nevertheless a choice after not being chosen:-). I know this is a definitive sign and my grand opportunity again. My opportunity to break free from the should, the pragmatic ism and the worry and to finally let God in completely first and let him lead me day by day.

It is perhaps the growth, the prior steps, the life experience that finally yields to the wisdom to "give us this day our daily bread..." and that putting God first is the sweet surrender of worry and the only place where we can put our trust and happiness.

Yes, we all toil and all work has it's value. Yet, let us not forget Matthew 6:24-34 (Luke 12:24-27)

24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.



Mind Flow said...
September 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

Letting God in completely. What a wonder-ful thing to strive for. Sweet surrender, indeed. Lots of love to you, Musing Angel!

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