THE JOY AND GIFT OF WORK
By JIM CLARK
Nearly every weekday morning when I arrive at work, I find Douglas in the parking lot waiting for me to open up our building. He is part of the MET program – Motivation, Education and Training. Funded by the Department of Labor, it’s designed to help those fifty-five and over to get back into the workforce. Several individuals from that program have worked at Christian Service Center and have been very helpful to us – and it has benefited them, many of whom have gone on to get permanent jobs! Douglas is one of the hardest workers I’ve known, serving in our donations department. He is always willing to do what we ask of him and comes up with creative ways for us to organize all the donations we receive each day and where to take our surplus items.
He often uses the company truck to take metal to the recycling center, extra hangers to New Beginnings’ resale shop and medical items to Global Samaritan. A few minutes ago, Douglas came to my office asking if he could send our excess long sleeve men’s shirts to Love and Care Ministries – which I gladly approved. Next week he will take more of these long sleeve shirts to the MET office, where the staff there will send these shirts to Plainvew for men working in the fields.
One of my greatest joys of leading the Service Center is to witness our staff and volunteers work together to serve the poor of Abilene, carrying out our mission statement to share the love of Jesus with the poor of Abilene. These folks remind me of the value that God puts on work — first witnessed in what He did for the first person He created. God didn’t give Adam a recliner, a remote and flat screen TV. Rather, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”(Genesis 2:15)
Dr. Anne Bradley writes, “At the core of poverty alleviation is igniting God-given dignity into the hearts of the poor by empowering them to be who God created them to be.” And I’m firmly convinced that to love the poor, followers of Jesus must offer them opportunities to work. At the Service Center we help people go to work in several ways, including:
- Our Work for Shelter program – where each month we allow volunteers to work for 12 hours in exchange for one week’s rent at a half-way house
- Our Jobs list — a comprehensive list of employment opportunities, updated weekly, that we hand out to our neighbors
- Dignity Plus — For those whom we help with a water bill or emergency rent assistance, we ask them to do 12 hours of community service
- Our partnership with Goodwill’s Work Again West Texas program, where we help two people per month with ID’s so they can enter this program.
- Continual referrals of our neighbors to FaithWorks of Abilene, a 13-week back to work program
In the photo at top, Douglas is hard at work at Christian Service Center. In the photos above, volunteers sort and pack. Photos courtesy Jim Clark, Christian Service Center.
I love the wisdom from God’s word on how vital it is that we work:
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thess. 4:11-12
I see this Scripture displayed in Douglas’s life. He personally experiences the blessing of having a job and not dependent on handouts. And he quietly shares his resources with those in need because he is a worker. Douglas even brought all of us donuts this morning!
Thank the Lord for the joy and value of work!
Jim Clark is executive director of Christian Service Center. “God has blessed him with great joy in working at this ministry.”
Editor’s Note: The founder of Mission Waco/Mission World and pastor of the Church Under the Bridge will be guest speaker for the Sept. 10 fall dinner that benefits Christian Service Center. Details follow:
What: Christian Service Center fall dinner
When: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 10
Where: Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St.
Speaker: Jimmy Dorrell, founder of Mission Waco/Mission World and pastor of the Church Under the Bridge
Topic: Building Bridges, Rebuilding Lives
Tickets: Individual tickets are $50. Deadline to purchase is Aug. 29. Table sponsorships are available. Contact Karen Dansby, 325-669-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org