BOUND TOGETHER BY OUR LABORS

We hear so much division in the news that it is easy to believe that there is no unity in our country. No matter what the subject or event, the news media plays up separate factions to the point where it appears that it is all we are….different groups with different ideology or ways of life; and that there is no way we will ever be able to come together. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we are together in ways that most of us never stop to think about.

I was thinking about employment and how a person earns a living and as I meditated on being self sufficient and not living off the bounty of others, I began to realize something that I had never really considered before: how we are bound together. Seems like the one is contradictory to the other doesn’t it? We get a job, we earn a paycheck so we can support ourselves….pay for our own daily needs such as food, clothing, housing, transportation and so on. We are independent, self supporting adults, living our own lives and paying our own way. Yet…we are bound together by those very needs.

As I look around at my home, my closet, my cupboards and refrigerator, my car and all the things my employment wages have purchased for me, I see things that come from the employment of others. Take for instance, something as simple as a cotton knit shirt…just going to work and earning a paycheck didn’t provide that shirt. It didn’t just magically appear because I got paid. It started in a field…..with a farmer. A farmer planted cotton seed, and reaped a harvest in due season. He sold his harvested cotton which went to a cotton gin then to a mill where it was spun into thread. From there it went to a weaving factory where it was made into fabric; then from there to a place where it was cut and sewn into a shirt. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were involved with that cotton’s journey from seed to finished shirt.

But the journey wasn’t over. After the shirt was made, it was then taken by truck to a store where it was put on a shelf ready to be bought. In that journey, many people worked and earned a paycheck; some were laborers, some were marketers, some were truckers, some worked in offices, and so on. So it is with everything in my home, my yard, my car and in the town where I live; the highways that take me to other places, bridges that get me across waterways. What would my life be like if all the people responsible for the creation of all the things in my world disappeared? How would I live? I have virtually hundreds of thousands of items in my home….furniture, pencils, paper, electronic devices, the paint on my walls, the material my walls are made out of, my floors, my clothes, food, and so much more….things that I would not have if someone somewhere hadn’t built a business and hired employees. I am bound to all those people who have worked to provide my world with all that I am surrounded by.

That’s a pretty all-inclusive bond that we all take for granted. We need each other. Together we have created a society that binds us together in our need for all the things that we would not like to live without. Maybe you wouldn’t mind living in a cave wearing fig leaves, but I like my house and all that is within it. I like being able to get in my car and go where I want with relative ease. In Genesis God commanded that mankind should be fruitful and multiply….not just so there could be a lot of us; but so together we could build a world that would provide abundant life for each of us. We are woven together tightly, like a tight basket, so we can support one another as we also work and become independent in supporting ourselves.

That is amazing when you think about it. Look around your home and imagine what your life would be like if you subtracted everything that is there. I think you will find that you are more connected with the world than you realized. It’s a God idea, and it’s a good idea. We are not alone. God has given us to each other and if we could ever stop fighting we might be able to see that we have more in common than we like to admit. Yes, we have our differences, but there are very few people in this world who haven’t benefited by the ways that we are alike. We all like to eat. We all like to wear clothes. We all like to have a place to live. We all like to come together with others and enjoy the company of others. We are mankind; created by God in His image with common needs….and more often than not, common wants. Maybe, if we remembered that, we could get along with each other better.

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