WAY #19. Seek Work/ers 9:38
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.
For the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to see life from the other side – from those without paid work. This experience has changed my life.
I was ‘lucky’ in many respects, that for some of that time I was choosing to study, so for that period I was able to explain away my lack of paid work and not see the pity or judgement in others’ faces. Being able to explain why I couldn’t afford to get take-away two nights in a row (let alone go to a ‘nice’ restaurant), or go see a film, afford a haircut and choose hair-dye over meat for the week.
It isn’t easy when you live in such an affluent community.
Having worked full time over a 20 year period not only ages me, but sets a standard of living it’s hard to change, especially when you’re doing it alone. No-one else seems to be making these choices. And I was making these choices, in part, because I was of the conviction that the Lord of the harvest was sending me out to do his work in the Community Services sector.
Studying at Victoria University was a deeply enriching experience. Here were some of my people. Refugees, single mothers, recovering addicts – and to my surprise talking about faith and religious convictions (of all kinds) wasn’t anathema as it was in my inner-city world. I learned so much listening and sharing with the people I was studying next to. Together we were some of the few, gaining the skills to be sent out to do God’s work.
Since then I’ve tried the casual work, part-time study thing – and worked out I couldn’t do this for the long haul. It’s amazing how stressful living without regular money or other supports is. Good lessons for my future community work.
I’ve scaled back my aspirations and accepted full time work, and it’s been great. I’ve been working with a great bunch of people and have learned that whatever work I’m doing, by working with people I’m doing God’s work. I’ve learned that I’m really good at supporting others doing frontline work.
By being involved at Newmarket Baptist Church I’m able to support other’s in doing the big Community Development work – the front line labouring, which someday I might be doing.
It’s good to remember that God’s harvest is not only in material rewards but in knowledge building, the relationships that are formed along the road.
Isn’t it great that we can all, no matter our incomes, be sent out into the world to be labourers into his harvest?
– Fiona Hocking