Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Since the light was taking forever to change from red to green, I looked to the left and out the open window. He was on his knees leaning over the wet concrete of a new stretch of sidewalk. With his trowel in hand, he was making a smooth surface out of rough looking freshly poured concrete. As I looked at the long stetch of completed work which showed evidence of his hand, I marvelled that a man could stay at such a hard job for such a long time and continue to do it with such care. And then I wondered if he realized that he was not doing concrete work, but was instead someone working to create a safe place for people to walk while busy motorist raced wherever it is they were going.
Culture would say his work was menial. I guess that would make him a "menial-ist." There are a lot of his kind around us. Unfortunately, they become invisible to too many people who see themselves working at something better than menial jobs. Those of us who having trouble seeing the many menial-ist around us need some new eyes. The clerks at the grocery store are not just running a scanner, but are a part of that long chain of people from farmers to migrant workers to buyers to truckers to store owners who provide food for our famiies. The custodians of our institutions and businesses do not just clean toilets and floors, but create inviting places to use. The inmates of the prison work detail are not just picking up roadside trash, but are some of the people who are offering care for the environment by cleaning up after careless and thoughtless folks.
The list of invisible workers grows as we look around us with more care. We might call them the menial-ists, but Jesus would likely see them as some of the least of us who stand first in His line of love and care. As the green light sent me chasing the car ahead of me, I realized that I should have at least hollered out my car window to the guy doing safety work, "Great job!"