Faith at Work LVIII

May 2009

What is life for? What is work for? When I go round the factory floor, the most common reply is to “pay the bills”. And now, with reductions in demand and short time working, things are getting very tight and it is getting increasingly difficult for both the shop-floor workers to maintain their take-home pay and the management to secure their future – it’s a tricky balance for all of them. If confidence in the markets would grow and sales of new cars increase, the demand for the parts that they make would go up and the work would start to flow again. But, are we going to go back to the times that we were used to only a year or two ago? We are living in times of change and we need to respond in an appropriate way.

Part of the answer is to discern what direction the available work is going in and another is to be clear about the contribution that we can make to society; that involves seeking to match our abilities to the needs that we perceive. Several people that I have met in the factory have decided that they are going to take the future more into their own hands. One, a welder, has decided to offer himself for voluntary redundancy and use the cash that will come his way to retrain as a care worker – that seems to me to be a brave decision; it is always risky to change direction in such an extreme way, but the alternative might be to run out of work. Another has left already to become more engaged in youth work from being a skilled machinist. Those decisions required both vision and courage; hopefully both of them will be fulfilled in their new way of life.

Jesus is another example of someone who changed career mid-stream. His early days were spent with his father learning to be a carpenter. Then, at the age of thirty, he felt called to become an itinerant preacher and healer. He built up a small group of devoted disciples who also changed from their various trades to follow him … and life seemed to be settling down for them, twice: once, during the three years when Jesus was teaching them until he was taken, tried and put to death. That seemed to be the end until he miraculously came back to life at Easter. After that, he appeared now and then to give them fresh enthusiasm until he finally left at the Ascension – that was another crucial change, because it meant that they now had to continue by themselves. How? With the help of the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to inspire them – that was at the first Pentecost. We can ask to be inspired too and so, with Ted Matchett, we pray:

Loving Heavenly Father
please fill my entire body, mind, soul and spirit
with the love, wisdom and full protection
of your Holy Spirit …
so that your will truly is done in and through every part of me in each and every moment
right through the day.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2009-04-06

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