Devotional: October 5th
Just the other day a couple of my friends and I were talking about different jobs we have had in the past. I got to talking about my days with MAC Tools in Washington Courthouse, Ohio in 1976 when I was between churches and needed a job to support my family. I learned some things that were rather disturbing about the American worker. I got to see these things firsthand as I worked side-by-side with men who had been working their jobs far longer than I had been.
My first day on the job was a "get-your-feet-wet" day of getting used to the grinder on which I was to be working. The foreman showed me how to run it and what to do with the different tools. One of the other workers filled in the cracks. For instance, the foreman didn't tell me that the pieces I would be grinding burrs and droppings off of would get hot while I was holding them. The guy working the grinder next to me warned me of that. He told me that was what the roll of tape was for that was sitting on my machine. I was to wrap several strands of tape around my finger tips so the heat wouldn't affect my fingers. Then he took a break. A long break.
When he came back from his break he stood and talked to a couple of other workers while holding a piece that he was to grind. He kept gesturing to the piece and it looked like the conversation was about the tool that was being ground. But I heard the conversation. It wasn't about grinding tools. As I worked I watched as other men would form little pools of conversation from time to time. I kept working because I wasn't sure that what they were doing was right. That was when I noticed something about my work. I was way ahead of what my job ticket said was the target for grinding a particular tool. In approximately two hours of work I had done what the job ticket said was the equivalent of an entire day and then some. I thought, "How neat is that?"
Over the weeks that I worked there I developed a sense of comraderie with a worker on the third shift who was using the same machine as me. It got to where we were competing to see who could do a days work on a particular tool the fastest. We did the work and the company got the benefit. When it came time to set the standard for their new flex handle ratchet my buddy and I were the ones who got it. Then came the complaints. The standard we set was what we thought would be easy with steady work. The others who got the actual job of continually grinding the tool said it was way to excessive. The standard was cut by two thirds. My third shift buddy and I had one more day to grind the ratchet. We did two and one half times the standard we had set just to prove a point.
The point is the one Jesus made in a story he once told. "And which of you having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come at once and sit and eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' " Luke 17:7-10 Making standard pays the bills. Doing more than needed makes a profit. What are we doing for the Lord?
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