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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Monday, May 3

But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you…
—1 Thessalonians 5:12a

It takes so many people’s gifts to keep the world in a state of creative movement. Our own work begins to make the deepest sense when we take the trouble to know, honor, and be grateful for the labor of all those around us. 

Then we begin to see how each person’s work is a part of the whole enterprise of life, and how our own gifts, talents, and skills are an equal contribution to the dynamism of that life.

We can begin with the grocery store clerk or with the waitperson at the restaurant, the person driving the bus or taxi or our child’s teacher, with the mail carrier or waste disposal driver, with our plumber or electrician, with our doctor, our accountant or the barista at the corner coffee house.

We can just do the simple practice of beginning to know them—recognizing their contribution, putting a face and a name to the work they do, showing our thankfulness to them for being a part of sustaining and deepening the experience of life.

It starts when we turn our eyes away from our own self-absorption and look into their eyes. In that instant we form a bond, a communion that acknowledges our shared humanity and the person behind the job. That connection is the starting place where oneness can override separation.

O God, open my eyes and turn my heart inside out for those who labor for the continued unfolding of creation and for the betterment of my own life.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.