Their faces told the story…Young men and women aged before their time. Worry lines branded deep into their foreheads, just below the bangs. Permanent creases imprinted in the shape of the frowns they wore for the better part of most days. A sag in their shoulders and a stoop in their steps. It had been this way for a long while, and now things were getting worse. Rumor was, the place would close within six months.
The orchestra of clanging, thumping, whooshing machinery had lost a few shiny instruments as contracts ended and work slowed. New orders for business weren’t coming in. Not only were sounds changing, but so were the smells, the textures, and the sights that once provided jobs in a flourishing environment. The craftsmen who made the products were slowly fading into obscurity. No one wanted their talents anymore.
But that was yesterday. Today, Chris started something that might change everything.
In a brave move, he pushed past his anxiety, took a shaky breath, and the one man stood to challenge the others. Surrounded by a remnant of employees in the break room, he said, “Why don’t we pray together?”
Loud scoffing, like bullies on a playground, fed off each other, “Pray? What good’s that gonna do?”
A gruff voice added, “You think some god will help us? Buddy, you’ve got bigger problems than how to pay the bills when this joint closes.”
Belly laughs and nervous chuckles played racquetball in the room.
Not one person stood or spoke agreement with Chris. Before he sat back down, in a somber tone, he said, “I think the only hope for our jobs and this nation is prayer. I thought if we joined together we might make a difference. That’s all.”
Still no response. No clapping hands, no atta boys, just an awkward silence that bounced from wall to wall and person to person. A couple of snickers echoed toward his back when Chris hung his head.
The buzzer sounded, and a swarm of chair legs scuffing the floor signaled a return to work areas. Chris intentionally moved slow, embarrassed at his foolish outburst. Why didn’t I keep my ideas and my prayers private? I’m so stupid. He kept his eyes glued to the floor in front of him, as he walked the familiar path to the time-clock — alone.
Fifteen minutes later, engrossed in his current project, Chris stopped and looked up at the sound of a man’s shy whisper, “I’d like to join you. I’ll pray.”
It wasn’t much, but now there were two or more…enough to start making a difference.
The two quickly agreed to meet after work, to make a plan, but as the shy man turned to leave, one of the bullies walked by and said, “Freaks.” His laugh trailed behind him, long after he was out of sight.
This wouldn’t be easy….
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri.