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Summary: A Labor Day message on providing caring services, but not simply as self-fulfillment, but as a means to witness.

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The true test of whether what you are doing is real is not how you feel about it when you start. The true test is whether you can keep going and complete your task.

Anybody can get excited about a new job. But not everybody can stay by the stuff and finish. Some people get bored, or distracted, or disillusioned, and they quit the work. They lose interest. The true test of whether your work means something real is not how eager you are to get out of bed in the morning. The true test is whether you can put in the long hours and the drudgery needed to get the job done, done completely.

It’s good to come to Labor Day and to celebrate with many of you. It seems as though every week brings news of somebody with a new job. Some of you who have been unemployed quite a while have found work, and you are relieved and excited. Just to be able to pay the bills -- that will be great! I rejoice with you! Others who have felt a little unappreciated in their old jobs have found something more challenging. With you too I rejoice! I don’t believe God wants us to coast through life without some sort of challenge. Still others are going to college to pick up where you left off, to prepare for something more vital than what you’ve had. That’s superb, too! And yet others have received promotions, or you have just refreshed your vision of the job you’re already doing. I think all of this is great! It can only mean more vitality for you and for everyone around you. Praise the Lord for new jobs and better jobs!

By the way, as one of the people who makes sure the church can pay its bills, I guess I would be remiss if I did not remind you that a tithe of more is, indeed, more! But we won’t go there just now.

Remember, the true test of whether what you are doing is real is not how you feel about it when you start. The true test is whether you can keep going and can complete your task. e it?

One day I went downstairs to watch our Wednesday Club at work. Wednesday Club, as you may know, is a ministry our church operates for mentally challenged people. We do a number of things with our guests, including recreation. One favorite item of recreation is working jig-saw puzzles. On this particular day Jean White was sitting across from a Wednesday Club guest, and they were tackling one of those big, challenging jig-saw puzzles, with about a thousand pieces in it and no discernible pattern! As I watched, our guest worked at it for a little while, but he got tired. It was too much, and he gave up. He leaned back in his chair, he piddled with a couple of pieces, but he quit. In fact, when he saw me, he had a question, “Is lunch ready?” Let’s quit this hopeless thing and go have lunch. But not so Jean White. Jean continued to search for puzzle pieces. Jean kept on digging in the pile, confident that what she was looking for would be in there somewhere. And when I told our guest that, yes, it was almost time for lunch, what do you think Jean White said? “You go on without me, I’ll be there when I get this puzzle finished. I just can’t stand to see a job left incomplete.”

Would you rather finish a job than eat? Have you ever completed a task instead of feeding your face? Can you get so excited about completing something that you might miss one of Dan Lamar’s gourmet delights? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Can you imagine it?

I can. I have heard of such a thing. I read about it right here in the 4th chapter of John’s Gospel. John reports that Jesus was approached by his disciples, who had run off to town to buy food, but Jesus turned it down. “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” And when the disciples, who I suspect never failed to satisfy their own Big-Mac-attacks, heard that, they couldn’t believe it! Not eat? Miss a meal? Why, for heaven’s sake, why? Jesus told them that indeed it was for heaven’s sake that he could miss a meal: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” My food, the thing that keeps me going, is not on a plate or in a pot; my food is to do what God wants me to do, and, most of all, to complete his work. To do it right. To do it all. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.

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