First Down (September 2, 2018)

Dear Friends,

My very first job was at Burger Chef in Flagstaff. My view of the job was one of being happy getting some spending money. Over time I learned some great lessons. One, was I enjoyed a work ethic of being dependable, using my hours of work to do my best, enjoying the people I worked with and the bonding of friendships after work. Rather than just being a job to get money to spend, the work ethic that my Father instilled in me eventually helped me see the up side to working at a job.

My father worked long hours at the bank. He saw his job as a vocation of providing for his family, having pride in his work and seeing his personal gifts used to make every branch he worked at the best. What I find interesting, is that his work ethic somehow touched my life and that without thinking about it, I just followed his modeling of work. To this day all my siblings have a work ethic that is having pride in a job well done going beyond what is expected and know that the ability to work is a gift from God.

As our country celebrates Labor Day on Monday, it is a good reminder that work is vital for us as humans. It can give us purpose, direction and gifts that can be used to serve others.

Now I understand for some, their experiences of work are not always pleasant. The stress that can come with some occupations can make the experience difficult. For others, supervisors can fall short in offering good guidance and support. And still for others, layoffs or firings can happen often and can be a fearful experience.

This Labor Day might be an opportunity to look again at the purpose of work and how we might find meaning or even joy in our jobs and efforts of work.

Each morning when I wake up I offer my entire day to the Lord. I ask him to use me as his instrument to help me accomplish his mission on earth. Some days I can see his hands guiding me and helping me succeed. Other days I find it difficult to see God when difficult challenges face me at work. Yet through good or bad days I always offer my job, my work and my life to God. This might help us as Christians to know that our jobs can be more than just getting a paycheck. Rather, it can be a vocation where God uses us, even in very difficult positions, to do great things for ourselves and others.

This Labor Day can be a day where we can renew our efforts at our job, our work place or our vocation. To offer our work days over to God and asking Him to use us for His good might be an insight that can give us a deeper meaning to our work. More than just a paycheck, it can be a way that helps us find fulfillment in our lives.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric