BIBLE VERSE FOR THOUGHT
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
PROVERBS 3: 27, ESV
Americans are hard working people. According to statistical data gathered by the personal financial giant 20SomthingFinance America is the most overworked developed nation in the world. As many as 85.6% of American males and 66.5% of female workers spend more than forty hours on the job every week. American workers work 137 hours more annually than Japanese workers, 260 more hours than in Britain, and 499 more hours than their French counterparts. Average productivity of the American workforce had increased 400% since 1950. No wonder we're all tired. If you would like to read the report about our national work standards, click here.
Yes, we have a traditionally strong work ethic. You know, we're trying to make a living and provide for our families. And our higher standard of living keeps us on the clock more and more. Some of these employment situations are the fast-track leadership and management positions that move corporate America. There are benefits here---higher salaries, paid leave, corporate health insurance, retirement plans, golden parachutes, corner offices, exotic travel, and keys to the executive wash rooms. Many more, however, slug it out every day in the lower echelon jobs that keep the nuts and bolts of America connected and going. They may receive a turkey for Thanksgiving, a bonus at the end of a productive year, or a letter of appreciation from the CEO on employment anniversaries.
And, we work off the job too. Community activities, church ministry, Little League sports, and pages of other volunteer opportunities are also the beneficiaries of American work habits. Thousands of these are unheralded, labor intensive commitments requiring the best these tired workers can offer. One in a while, that is, rarely, they are recognized for their contributions to the common good. The Corporation for National Community Service estimates that 25.3% of Americans serve in some volunteer capacity, around 62.5 million Americans. They average 32.1 hours of volunteer service annually per person, a whopping 7.5 billion hours. They are not paid and rarely are complemented for a job well done.
Congratulating them and the millions of others fulfilling less visible aspirations, dreams, commitments, and callings would create in them a greater sense of purpose and having done something worthwhile for the nation. I cannot tell you the number of times I've seen the visible lift for someone recognized for their efforts, however small in the greater scheme of things. You know, job promotions, graduations, reaching a weight goal, becoming debt-free, purchasing a new home, making a spiritual decision, having a child, serving a meal, and so many other seemingly normal accomplishments. Recognizing the contributions of so many can create days of blessing and joy for them. And, often, it just takes a few words, like---well done.
Most of these selfless individuals aren't seeking fortune or fame in their efforts. Sure, some are building a resume in hope of bigger things. But, most are doing what is right because it is right. A simple word can make those efforts even more special, and help a family member or friend celebrate the joys and blessings of life. I think that's what Solomon had in mind when he wrote such common, yet profound spiritual sense in the Proverbs. God taught Solomon the dynamics of human relationships. He knew the power of words and how even small expressions of gratitude could build and influence a nation. In short, he said we should give recognition to the people who had earned it, especially when it is in our power to do so. That power is ours as neighbors, friends, work colleagues, family, shoppers, diners, and the people in the next pew.
Give it a try today. Express well done to the people who are serving around you.