When Hurricane Harvey swept into town, most people forgot about the Labor Day holiday. But I wanted to take a moment to honor the work force of our community. Many of you are cleaning up storm debris even now. Thank God got for working people!
Labor Day is a good time to remember your first real job. The one where you “clocked in” and “clocked out,” and had to work “hours.” It was that job where you had a lunch break, with a 15-minute break mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Work really messes up your free time.
The summer before my senior year in high school, my Dad gave me a choice between getting a job, or getting a job. Given these options, I got a real job at Sears in Dallas. During the training and orientation, they gave me a series of psychological tests to discern my cognitive ability, personality inventories, and potential job performance. It was determined that the best fit for me was in sporting goods. Ha! I barely knew the difference between croquet and cricket.
The first week was Dallas Cowboys week. Every day, several players stopped by to sign autographs, and look at their Rolex watches. These athletes were twice my size, and smelled of a faint mixture of Aqua Velva and Bengay. But, the crowds were not there to buy anything. Salesmen were just an annoyance. No sales.
The floor manager called me into his cubicle the next Monday, and asked how I liked sporting goods. I told him that it was fun, but I just didn’t know a lot about sports. He looked at me for a bit and said, “How about men’s clothing?” And so it was, that my life in fine clothes began.
The store sold all the furnishings a man could need. But I quickly found out that most of the customers were women. They shopped for their spouse or friend with precise purpose and mission. They were easy to satisfy, once I figured out what they wanted.
The more difficult customer was the random guy that had been working in the yard all day, and decided to run to Sears for a white shirt, tie, and socks. They usually had no idea what color tie they needed, but they wanted black socks. It was almost guaranteed that their wife would be returning the tie.
One day, my manager was gone and there were no customers. The store was virtually empty. Since I was bored, I leaned against a counter and was reading a book. A nice older man approached me and said that he was the manager in the ladies’ department across the aisle. We talked a minute, and then he said, “Dave, I suggest that even when the store is empty, you should look very busy. Remember, you are on their clock, and someone is always watching (like him).”
Never again did I look at the lull in the action the same way. I determined to always be busy. And do you know what? There is always something to do if you care enough to notice. I thank God that guy connected with me while I was young. It is a life lesson we all need.
In Luke 19, Jesus was telling a parable about using whatever gifts, talents, skills, or possessions we have for His Kingdom. He said to the workers, “Occupy till I come.” Some have more than others. But Jesus was saying that we should use our assets for Him, and not bury them. Occupy means to “do business.” In other words, get busy. Stay busy. No matter your age, education, or financial status, there is always something to do in God’s Kingdom. Remember, you are on God’s clock and He is watching.
Like the old adage says: If you will take care of God’s business, He will take care of yours.