Working Together

This photo was taken two years ago when my grandchildren were working together on a Vacation Bible Camp project.

A lot of wisdom can be gained from learning and working together with others. I know I have learned a lot from the people I work with. I have learned to listen, to walk slowly and value the people that serve with me each week. I have learned from people who have very different opinions and ideas from what I have too. Some of my friends are from very different backgrounds, different ends of the political spectrum and even different faith backgrounds and yet I have learned to respect their viewpoints, to listen and understand where they are coming from. I don’t always completely agree with everything they say or do and yet we have found common ground and we respect each other. I have found that we often have way more in common than we think.

I have also learned that it never hurts to take time to pray and most people do not object to prayer or at least the idea that you are thinking of them. Working together with others opens up so many opportunities for growth when we truly listen and learn from each person we are working with.

I love the job I have now, however there was a time when I was in a job that was not such a good fit and going to work felt like a dead end. Even then, I learned from the people I was with. From one of my less than desirable jobs, I learned the value of living in community and serving with excellence. A job worth doing is worth doing well! Another time I learned that hard work matters. And through it all, I learned to listen to God because He knows best what is the right place and right job for me.

So I wonder if the men working for King Solomon to build the temple learned anything? They weren’t given much of a choice in whether they wanted to help build the temple or not. King Solomon conscripted laborers from all of Israel. Basically it was forced labor. Were the men still happy to do the job or did they feel trapped and unhappy? Was it interesting to see this amazing building take shape? Did they take pride in their work? It had to be back breaking work, however, King Solomon did give them time off. From the account I read, it sounds like they worked for one month and then had two months off. I hope that as these men built, they saw the value in what they were doing. I hope that in spite of how hard it was, that at the end of the day, they had a sense of accomplishment and I hope that when the temple was finally finished, they were able to join with others in celebrating and worshipping God. I hope that they felt that the sacrifices they made were worth it.

Wisdom – when we choose to listen to God’s teachings, when we learn and work together with wise people, when we do our best even in difficult circumstances, when we love and respect those we work with and when we look to God above all else; we will gain wisdom. God’s wisdom will lead and guide us throughout all of  life. And when we work together, we will accomplish more, way more than we ever could on our own.

The temple wasn’t built in a day. It took seven long years of working together, seven years of back-breaking labor, but as they worked together, it was built! What can we build if we choose to work together with others – with our families, friends, communities and even those who are very different from us? Could we perhaps build community, trust, equity, and a culture of kindness?
Could we let the love of Jesus show and encourage others faith? Let’s start building and see what happens. Let’s all work together.

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Well God,
Here I am again. I am coming to you for wisdom. Yes, I need wisdom as I work, as I write, in everything that I do. Help me to learn from those around me, from my family, friends and students. Teach me to listen with humility. I want to be teachable. Above all, I want to listen to you. I want to listen to your teaching and obey. Help us all as we learn and work together in our families and on our jobs. Teach us to show grace and mercy because we have so abundantly received grace and mercy from you. I wonder Lord, if our world wouldn’t be a better place if we all worked together and treated each other with grace as we worked? What if we worked together to build something beautiful instead focusing on all the reasons why someone else’s views are not valid? Lord, help us to find common ground, work together and build up our families, our churches and our communities. Help us show your love by working together with others. I do want others to know that there is a God who loves and cares for them. I will respect them and treat them kindly even if they choose not to believe, but Lord, help me to let my light shine because your love is in me. Amen 

LEARNING TO WORK & SERVE TOGETHER

  • Kids learn as they work together with their family. The best place to start learning to work together is at home.
  • If you want your kids to have a good attitude towards serving and working together with others, then model that yourself. Do you complain about your boss and your colleagues at work? Do you complain about your workload or how hard your job is? Then expect your kids to complain as well. Of course, even if you model a good attitude, they still may complain sometimes after all, they are still kids!
  • Let your kids begin helping at a young age and praise them when they help. EX: When your two-year-old puts away 1 block, cheer her/him on. They will want to help more as they experience some success in helping and take pride in their work.
  • Your kids learn how to do things as they work together with you. They learn the value of work and of doing a good job. They learn responsibility. They learn practical life skills so that they can care for themselves when they grow up and hopefully they learn to work cheerfully. Make working together fun. Reward them when they do a good job. A reward can be a favorite snack, a star on a chore chart, a family outing or verbal encouragement. Be creative!
  • Serve together as a family, and your kids will learn the value of helping others. As you help those less fortunate than you are, your kids will learn gratitude – appreciating more what they have.
  • Kindness, the joy of accomplishing a task, working as a team, giving – all of these and more can be learned while working together. And your kids may even have a good time! You might find that you learn more than your kids.
  • When you work or volunteer together with someone who is different from you, you will learn an appreciation for other cultures, the value of listening carefully and showing kindness. Hopefully, you and your child will see that we can accomplish a lot when we work together.

Things You Can Do With Your Child

SHARE A STORY: King Solomon Builds The Temple – 1 Kings 5 – 6
After Solomon became king, he made another wise choice. He decided to build a place to worship God. He remembered how his father, King David, had wanted to build a temple for God and he wanted to build a temple too. He knew building the temple would be a big job! He also knew that God would help him. God gave King Solomon the wisdom and everything he needed to build the temple.

King Solomon gathered the materials he needed. Then he gathered men from all over Israel to help build. He knew it would take a lot of people to build a beautiful place to worship God. “Zzzz, zzz!” went the sound of the saw. “Rat a tat, rat a tat!” went the hammers. (Pretend to build.) Some people carried things and others cut stones or prepared the logs. Everyone worked together. Finally after a long time, (7 years) the temple was built. Everything was finished.

King Solomon was happy that there was now a beautiful temple church where people could worship God. He was thankful that God helped him know what to do. God gave King Solomon wisdom and God will help you know what to do too. When you are helping at home or at church, God will show you what to do. He can help you make good, wise choices like helping cheerfully and worshipping Him. Being a cheerful helper and worshiper are very good choices.

When you need to know what to do, you can ask God for wisdom, just like King Solomon. You can also ask mom, dad, teachers or grandparents too. God gives us the Bible and people to help us know what to do. When we listen to wise people, we will grow up knowing how to make good, wise choices.

PRAYER:
Dear God,
Thank you for my church where I can learn about you. Thank you for people like my teacher and mom and dad who help me make wise choices. I know that you will help me make wise choices too. Whenever I don’t know what to do, I will ask you to show me. I love and worship you with all my heart. Thank you for making me and loving me. Thank you for your wisdom. Amen

MEMORIZE: Prov. 8:10 NIrV – (Hands open like holding a book.)
(God says – implied) – (Point up.)
Choose my teaching – (Clap hands.)
Instead of silver – (Rub fingers together.)

KNOW: God will show me what to do.
TALK ABOUT: Your church – where you can worship God. What is wisdom?
ASK: Who made you? God made you.
AND DO: Help at church & at home.

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Think of ways your child can help this week. Praise him or her for a job well done.
  • Turn on some praise music and dance, sing and worship together exuberantly!
  • Wisdom is knowing and doing the right thing. It’s using what you know or learn to make good choices. The beginning of wisdom is trusting God with all of our hearts. Praise your child every time he/she makes a good choice.