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Jesus the workaholic

Sarahblog400After my parents divorced when I was in middle school, there wasn’t always a lot of money to go around.

To keep the household going, my mother worked five days a week at an elementary school, spent her weekends cutting hair and attended night classes to earn her bachelor’s degree.

She worked hard to build a life for us, so it was difficult not to be inspired to do the same: I got my first part-time job when I was just 12. At 14 I waited tables during the overnight shift at a Mexican restaurant. In college, I juggled six part-time jobs when I wasn’t in class.

Even today, despite having a fulfilling, engaging, full-time career at Women of the ELCA, it’s hard for me to turn down a side project. Need someone to teach a poetry workshop at the library? I’m there. Your website needs updating? I’ll figure it out.

Of course, working like this can be exhausting, but it has taught me a valuable life lesson: hard work pays off. Now I’ve been thinking about how this type of hard work might benefit the world in other ways.

For instance, this month at Gather, we’re working on our annual intergenerational issue. We’re talking about how we can best learn from those different from us – across generations, across cultures, across political differences.

It may not surprise you that the same answer keeps coming up: hard work.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to put in long, hard hours to create the world he believed in. Click To Tweet

The only way to truly build relationships – especially relationships with those who are different from us – is to face the challenging, sometimes uncomfortable work of showing up and putting in the hours.

And if you’re like me and are anxious at the prospect of trying something new, of getting to know someone different, maybe we need to be reminded that we didn’t sign up for just any comfy, cozy religion.

Our Jesus is the one who tells us to “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5), “sell your possessions” (Matthew 19), “give to everyone who begs from you” (Luke 11), “stand firm” (Luke 21).

Jesus wasn’t afraid to put in long, hard hours to create the world he believed in.

Now it’s our turn to roll up our sleeves.

Sarah Carson is associate editor of Gather magazine. You can read some of her other hard work in “Poems in Which You Die” and “Buick City.”


Photo by Beth | CC-BY

Comment (1)
Emily says:
Jan 30, 2017

Let’s be dedicated, passionate workers of the Gospel, yes! But let’s not forget Jesus even took time to pray, quietly, and he rested too :). He worked hard, sure; he knew God’s kingdom was coming,…and so we don’t need to kill ourselves by working – Gods kingdom will come (see Luthers explanation of the Lords Prayer) regardless of our work, but we pray to be a part of that Kingdom!

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