What I Learned Filling the Barn: A Thanksgiving Thought

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Chris Horst is the vice president of development for HOPE International. He is passionate about issues of faith and entrepreneurship. He is also the author of Mission Drift and Entrepreneurship For Human Flourishing.

He blogs regularly and has recently posted an article reflecting on his early jobs and the importance of work. Horst discusses a job he had at a friend’s farm where he and a few friends were responsible to fill the barn with straw.

The work was not glamorous, but it was deeply satisfying. The demands of the job challenged us. The sense of completion energized us. We loved the fun of working with friends. Our boss taught us about farm life, trained us on new techniques and machinery, and celebrated our labor. And, he paid us well. When I opened my first paycheck, I couldn’t fight a smile from creeping onto my face.

Horst realized that environments where he has worked, while varied and diverse, have not been normative: he always had great co-workers and bosses, fair wages, and enjoyable work. Unfortunately, dehumanizing work is the norm for many in the job market who are simply trying to make ends meet.

John Perkins, a heroic civil rights activist, pastor, and contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “Jobs are the world’s best social service program.” Paid or unpaid, meaningful work is integral to what it means to be human. The unemployed, underemployed, and inhumanely employed understand the pain of not having good work.

Horst concludes his article with a challenge. Our task as people of faith is to enable people to experience the dignity of good work. We  know that work matters and it is not a curse of the fall. God is a worker and a creator. As image bearers, we are called to work and create as well.

Chris cites entrepreneurs as one group who are doing this very well. The faith and work movement has celebrated entrepreneurs, but not everyone is called to this work, and sometimes the rest of us wonder what is left for us to do. One way to support entrepreneurs is to encourage them in their work and connect them with resources to help them in their craft. Spring GR is one organization among many around the country which offers training, mentoring and networking for aspiring entrepreneurs. Plus, we can purchase from businesses involved in job creation as well as supporting nonprofits that support job creation. (Horst has a good list.)

Click here to read Horst’s entire article.

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

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