The heavy smell of oil, grease, and other petroleum products meant the clanging machines didn’t squeak while they stamped metal to metal. But in the past six months, an echo to the production noise became a ghost, reminding those left behind, of how many pieces of equipment sat untouched. Once teeming with people, now hundreds of stations were unmanned, abandoned in an economic downturn. The Grim-Job Reaper waited to strike again.
The morning bell rang for first break. As agreed, Chris and John met beyond the time-clock as soon as they punched out. The other employees paid the two men no mind, as they hustled to grab a smoke, cup of coffee, soda, or a flirtatious conversation with a co-worker of the opposite sex.
When the area cleared, Chris and John got to it. Each walked his designated half of the factory and began to pray silently over all the work stations in the place.
Brushing his fingers over a steel cutting frame, John prayed in his mind, Lord, I ask you to protect this equipment from malfunction or damage. Thank you in advance for prospering the hands that work here. Help us appreciate the provision and blessing of our jobs, to do good and not harm, when we enter these doors. He walked quickly and silently to the next machine.
By the time the bell signaled their return to task, Chris and John were ready to clock in. Throughout the day, if a supervisor or group leader came by their station, the men would ask, “Is there anything else I can do to help you today? Do you need anything extra done?”
Mostly, they received gruff, “No. Just get your quota out,” responses. A couple wanted to know why they asked. And it wasn’t uncommon for heads to shake in wonder.
At second break, the men once again prayed over various work stations. All was well, until John rounded the corner toward a new production line and ran into Steve, the assistant plant manager.
“Why are you on the floor during break?”
John felt his face flush from the heat in his neck and ears. “I, um, well….”
“Spit it out John.” Steve’s voice wasn’t unkind, but there was a firm expectation.
John lowered his head to avoid Steve’s eyes, “I’m praying sir.”
“Yes,” John raised his chin to make eye contact, “praying for our company and all the people who work here.”
Steve opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Chris skidded onto the scene.
His words tumbled out. “It’s all my fault. Don’t blame John, I talked him into doing this. We only wanted to help.”
“What in the world are you talking about?”
Chris breathed deep and said, “Our plan. To pray over our factory and co-workers.”
The bell made Chris jump when it rang to end the afternoon break. He couldn’t read Steve’s emotions from the expression on his manager’s face.
“Both of you clock in and come to my office.”
“But, what about our quota?” John said.
With an air of authority, Steve said, “I want you in my office now.”
The courageous prayers dared not speak as they walked toward pending doom. Both thought their good motives may end with a bad conclusion. Many were fired over the past year, and now it seemed the Grim Job-Reaper had come for them.
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
2 Chronicles 6:19 (NIV)
Yet, LORD my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri.