By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R
As a child, I observed my father returning home each afternoon from a day of hard physical labor. Regardless of how tired he was, he never complained. That’s because he loved his family and for him, work had value. Today, we call this a strong “work ethic.”
Thinking back to my youth, my father encouraged me to choose a career that I would look forward to going to work — even on Monday mornings. “If you do,” he said, “you’ll never work a day in your life.”
The Bible has much to say about the value of work. Research shows that the word “work” is mentioned 623 times in the King James version.
Broken down into related topics, there is the work of Christ, the work of the Christian and physical work. Psalms 90:17 reads, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands” (NIV).
“Although my father’s work, required him to travel and be away from home Monday through Friday,” says Sandra Morgan Williams, professor at Union University, “he taught me valuable lessons about life and work.”
Williams recalls lessons such as being honest in everything you do, to plan ahead and to be a person of your word. “Even when I was older, if I had to borrow a little money from him, he expected to be paid back. Not that he needed it — but to teach us to be a responsible person.” Many years after her father’s death, Williams continues to practice the same work-ethic taught to her as a child.
Terry Terry, contractor/retiree of Lifeway Worship and editor of the SBC Bulletin recalls memories of his father concerning the value of work. “Dad was blue collar. He was a printer who chose to work at night, Wednesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. because the pay was better.
“I remember he always had ink under his fingernails from this dirty work. It was dad who got my brother and me up for school and cooked us breakfast. On Sunday, we were always at church.”
“At that time, there wasn’t money for college,” says Terry. “My father talked to the head of the advertising department and I was hired as a copyboy. Everyone I ran into, hearing my name made the connection. ‘Oh, you are Truman’s boy. Good man’.
Working my way through college and graduate school, my dad taught me the meaning of the need and the value of working hard, to be able to achieve what I needed to do. We didn’t really talk about it much … he just lived it out in front of me.”
As we celebrate Father’s Day, may we pause to thank God for our earthly father and to remember the many lessons learned, including the value of honest work. B&R — Tomlin resides in Jackson and writes for numerous Christian publications. E-mail: email@example.com