By DOYLE SAGER
First Baptist Church
Jefferson City, MO
The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the workforce of our nation and world. It has also underscored how truly essential working women and men are to the global economy.
When Jewish and Christian sacred texts address justice, they nearly always speak of fair wages and warn against oppression of workers:
- Jeremiah 22:13: “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, who makes his neighbors work for nothing and does not give them their wages.”
- James 5:4: “Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”
Because Mother’s Day is approaching, I’ve been pondering how the fierceness of God’s call for justice is mirrored in a mother’s love.
God’s expectations in the workplace remind me of a mother’s protective, unrelenting care for her children. Honestly, have you ever had the misfortune of getting in a mother’s way when she believes her child has been mistreated? I don’t recommend it!
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the lessons we can learn from our moms, especially as we ponder justice for workers everywhere.
- Infinite worth: Mothers remind us that each person has infinite worth. In the same way, Scripture describes God’s care for us as tender, like a mother’s (Isaiah 49:15).
When unemployment numbers are reported in the millions, we easily forget that each number is a person with family, dreams and fears.
Are the lives of these workers sacred or do they merely exist to serve the GDP? What will happen to workers who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis? And how many will remain unemployed, even as the economy (someday) coughs and sputters its way back to normal?
Mother’s Day will be a reminder that each person is created in God’s image and therefore possesses dignity and immeasurable value.
- Connection to larger family: Mothers connect us to the larger family of humanity. When I was a child, my mother used to take me with her to visit aunts, uncles and cousins, carefully explaining to me how we were related and the contribution each had made to our family story. Mother’s Day is a good time to remember that something happened before we arrived on the scene.
We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We did not single-handedly create our social, economic and spiritual blessings; we joined them in progress.
- Making the world better: Conversely, belonging to the human family means leaving the world better than we found it. The choices we make impact others. I know this because my mother told me so.
Our mothers speak to something deep within us which seeks to be loved and known, something that cries out for a world that is fair and good, overflowing with abundance for everyone.