As a boy, I often heard men talk about moving to Detroit for good paying jobs. When our family moved here almost fourteen years ago I understood why. There were more jobs than people to fill them. It seemed to me that people from all over the world had moved to Detroit for jobs. I talked with people from Bangladesh, Yemen, Columbia, Spain, Iraq, Kosovo, Serbia, Hungary, Poland and the list would go on and on. The economy was booming!
Stories about Henry Ford hiring people to work for five dollars a day, guaranteed, were legendary. Beautiful stores festively decorated like Hudson’s at Christmas. And Detroit is home to architectural treasures, like the David Whitney Building, Broderick Tower, Peneobscot Building and many more. Wealth creators, inventors, laborers and management built a bustling economy that provided jobs men and women to provide for themselves.
You can’t drive in the Metro area without also being impressed with all the beautiful churches that were built here. Faith was and remains an important part of our community. Christianity has a lot to teach us about work and economy. You’ve surely heard of the “Protestant Work Ethic.” Basically, it taught that all work should be done to the glory of God with excellence. Work that was done with excellence, honestly and diligently led to great prosperity. I especially like this quote by Martin Luther King, at Barratt Junior High School in 1967.
“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
Isn’t that great. It sounds like MLK understood the Protestant Work Ethic.
A word to the wise though, you could pursue work for work’s sake or for prosperity and either nod your head to God or ignore Him. But within a few generations the failure/sin of the fathers to pass on a legacy of faith would lead to poverty. What good is food on a table where love and fellowship are absent?
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” (Colossians 3:23, NASB95)