Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.
~Proverbs 22:29, NLT
Jesus was a blue-collar worker…He was a Carpenter.
Although I am a pastor, which is considered a profession, I identify more with the blue collar world. My father was a concrete finisher, a very difficult trade that he tried to teach me. I started building forms for him when I was a teenager and preferred carpenter work over masonry. Concrete is unforgiving. If you make a mistake with concrete, you are in trouble. I use screws in all my carpenter work these days and if I don’t get it right the first time, all I have to do is back out the screws and start again. You cannot do this with concrete. My real passion is farming. I helped Joe and Ken the other day for an hour or so but if I had the time I would ride the combine all day. I love the harvest. I also love tractors and as you know, I hate to dress up. So although I was educated to be a professional, my heart is blue collar.
The point I want to make is that there is nothing wrong or demeaning with a trade or a skill. Do not look down on the blue-collars, they keep this country going. We need good carpenters, mechanics, farmers, masons, electricians, etc. Whatever your skill, do the very best that you can do. Hone and refine your skills daily. Make every effort to improve. What kind of house keeper will the king bring to his palace? The best one he can fine. Competence rarely goes unnoticed. Don’t fall into the trap of working just for money. Take pride in what you do and do it to the best of your ability. We were discussing preachers with brilliant minds Monday. Once they meet you and get your name, they never forget it. They can quote half the bible and they don’t need notes when they enter the pulpit. I am not one of those guys. Sometimes I forget my own name. We are only accountability for the ability we have been given. My goal is not to be the best; that would be frustrating with my limited ability. My goal is to be the best that I can be. So whatever your trade or profession, be the best that you can be and someone will notice. Competence will be rewarded.
Tracy B. Prater’s COLS was good. The slide presentation was very good and although I didn’t know any of the songs, they were good and very fitting. Joe David and Spencer did well in eulogizing Tracy. She was a straight shooter with incredible strength. As Spencer said, she had the rare ability to maintain relationships. I know for a fact she loved Margaret and MD and they loved her. Those of us who have suffered through a divorce know how hard it is to maintain those relationships. She counted her losses and then moved on: she didn’t look back or feel sorry for herself. If you had a rose garden outside and you decided to bring one in the house with you so you could enjoy it’s fragrance and beauty: which one would you cut first? All I know is what I have observed: the really good often die young. John the Baptist was around 32, Jesus was 33, David Brainard was 29, good king Josiah was 39, Jim Elliott was in his 30’s and William Borden was in his twenties. Everything belongs to God, even the breath in our lungs so enjoy what He gives you and remember that to live here is an opportunity to serve Christ but to die is a promotion, a huge promotion.
A very long time ago; if memory serves me correctly it was when G.T. Narrell was at Children’s in B’ham; I came across a Catholic tract on giving. To be honest with you, I was a bit shocked. I took this tract and reworked it and came up with TEN DEGREES OF GIVING starting with the lowest and going to the highest.
Grudgingly–2 Cor. 9:7 [giving under compulsion]
Sparingly–2 Cor. 9:6 [those who give as little as possible]
Occasionally–Matt. 6:3 [giving to meet a specific need like a charity]
Systematically–I Cor. 16:1 [those who form a habit of giving and give on a regular basis]
Cheerfully–2 Cor.9:7 [those who enjoy giving]
Sincerely–2 Cor.8:8 [those who give out of love]
Bountifully–2 Cor. 9:6 [those who had rather give too much than too little]
Sacrificially–2 Cor. 8:3 [those who give more than they can afford]
Spiritually–2 Cor. 8:5 [those who give themselves before they give their money]
Graciously–2 Cor. 8:9 [those who give like Jesus which is everything they have]