September 16, 2016
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12).
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy’s hands.
Today all three of us will be using our hands at a company sponsored Community Service Day. Each year the Val-Co Company shuts down company operations and for one day they serve the community and yet the employees still get paid!
In a footnote to Tuesday’s message we mentioned hearing a song at Sam S. Smucker’s funeral Monday afternoon that was used when various photos of his life were projected on the screen. It was a Country type song that told the story of “Daddy’s Hands” (We will post a link to a video below). It was a way to honor hardworking Sam S. Smucker.
But as I listened to it I mused concerning my own father, Eugene Clark Weber, who passed away in 1998. I tried to picture his hands which was easier after Ester brought me the photo of her sitting on her Papa’s lap as seen in the photo. Several of the themes in the song seemed to fit my childhood experience. Today I want to especially consider that they were hard-working hands as expressed in the phrase from the song.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
I recall my Dad’s hands as big, rough and calloused. He was a large man who worked hard all his life. He and Mom married on October 17, 1944 while he was serving in WW2. I don’t recall that he ever received formal training for what he did but he learned by doing and he was driven by the sense knowing he needed to provide for his wife and family.
Through most of my childhood he did Heating and Air Conditioning and then later was a pipefitter. In his last ten years of employment before he retired he worked for large international companies and travelled to supervise large power projects as a Project Manager. I am sure even then he was a hands-on supervisor, demonstrating how something should be done. Most notably he was one of the first Americans into China in the mid-seventies and travelled to places where he was the first white man people had ever seen. Even in his retirement he worked with his hands and assisted several churches and ministries with projects.
When I was eight years old Daddy broke some bones in his hand due to grasping too tight a grip on a set of plyers. He continued to work while it was in a cast. Another memory was a labor problem in the Kansas City area in the late sixties which shut down his regular work for several months. He sought temporary, fill-in type work till the matter was resolved and since it was in the summer when school was out he took me to work with him.
Although I didn’t go into the same type of work he demonstrated and taught me many skills useful all though my life.
Our daily text is one of the great statements on physical labor in the Bible. Paul began the church in Thessalonica and the record of this rocky start is recorded in Acts 17:1-9. The fledgling church survived and the Holy Scriptures contain two letters written by Paul to these believers. Both letters contain a thought somewhat unique in Paul’s writings. In Paul’s second letter to them he develops this thought more fully in chapter 3:6-15. Possibly it was due to a problem that needed to be addressed in Thessalonica because of a mistaken view of the Lord’s return. Some felt they no longer needed to work since the return of the Lord was so imminent.
Paul reminded them of the value of work and the consequences of not working. Notice that Paul was merely reminding them of his teaching while he was with them. “Just as we told you.” I believe this indicates that this teaching was an integral part of Paul’s ministry. He modeled it himself when he made tents in Corinth for a time.
Today we will focus on just one phrase, “Work with your hands.” Most of you work with your hands. Today we use that phrase for manual labor but virtually all types of work, whether deemed skilled and unskilled, require the use of our hands.*
As you work with your hands rejoice in this act of obedience to God. And pray that our country will return to its godly foundations, including a Biblical worldview of physical labor. Today as you go about your work duties remember the words of the Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith and obedience, indeed recognizing the sanctity of work.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we make it our ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind our own business and to work with our hands, just as Scripture tells us. In doing so we provide for our families and tenderly hold them protecting them from harm’s way. We seek not only to win our family’s respect but also respect from outsiders who observe our Christian conduct. May the things we do with our hands and the ways we show love in our actions truly honor You and be a witness to others in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne’s special note about “Daddy’s Hands”: Not all who read this message today about “Daddy’s Hands” will identify with Stephen as he wrote about his dad nor will they relate to the dad in the song whose hands were folded in prayer or who patted his child on the back expressing affirmation. Perhaps they only knew “hands of steel” or hands of neglect, abandonment or abuse. If so, I want to assure you that if you had an earthly father who did not lovingly raise you, you can find reassurance and love in the Heavenly Father described by Jesus who has given us eternal life so that we will never perish. Our heavenly Father is so lovingly committed to us that He declares “No one can snatch us out of His hands” (John 10:27-30). What warmth, reassurance and tender love we can experience when reflecting upon this verse describing Jesus as the Great Shepherd and keeper of our souls and our heavenly Father who holds us safely, lovingly, and tenderly cupped in His hands.
* I do not like the designation “skilled” and “unskilled” which often tends to rank people. Many “unskilled” workers actually have skills that “skilled workers” may not have.
Note: I suppose it’s happened to about everyone who uses a computer: I had put several hours of study in this message and walked away w/o saving my work. I prepare these messages on a budget html editor which I am very used to and it’s free. But it doesn’t have the auto save function like Word and better programs. The computer must have restarted to load some updates and when I reopened, guess what!!! I share that for any of you who might be having a day like that – just remember we all do from time to time.
Note regarding Wednesday’s message concerning “Wholesome Words“: Two preacher friends wrote who both recall having their mouths washed out with soap!
The Decision America team came in on several large busses with colorful markings. We caught this scene on the way to the rally with the crowd gathering behind us and this view of the Pennsylvania Capitol in front of us.
The rally began at noon and lasted just 1 hour. People had come from all over the state.
The first part of the rally we prayed followed by some specific ways to make a difference, followed by a brief gospel presentation and invitation to follow Christ.
Here’s a view looking behind where we stood. Neither of these views capture all the people to each side of us. The rally was nonpolitical with absolutely no mention of parties or candidates apart from the clear statement that Graham made that no political party will get this country out of the mess we are in, to which we all said AMEN. The entire rally video is now posted on this website. Here’s a brief presentation by a local TV station.
Father, we know the Scripture well and often quote Your promise to forgive: “If my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We want to go beyond quoting and put into practice that which we ask of us so that You will do that which we ask of You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
“Daddy’s Hands” Video Holly Dunn This is the song mentioned in today’s message.
And reachin’ out to hold me, when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the callous’ and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind
I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man
But I’ll always remember the love in daddy’s hands
I remember daddy’s hands workin’ ’til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands
Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands
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