Labor for an Unknown Harvest


Whatever your faith, you can benefit from this thought from Dr. Russell Moore, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He once said, “Everybody seems to have a messiah complex except for the actual Messiah, who is able to walk away from the crowds…”

Many men labor under the impression that, if they don’t see the harvest, the labor has been in vain. Dr. Moore counters that notion, calling the need to see work bear fruit a “messiah complex.” Basically, he says those who need confirmation that their work has value do not labor for the sake of time well spent but rather for personal affirmation. This is a warning sign to skippers.

Paid by the Hour

We at the broom factory debate, off and on, about whether it’s better to be paid by the hour or paid by the job. Those arguing for hourly pay argue that they’ll be working anyway, so they may as well get paid for it. Those on the other side argue that if the job’s done, that should be the end of it, and that way, they may not have to spend so much time at work.

Pictured: the boys running to the time clock at shift’s end.

Since the work of a skipper is simply living well, particularly outside of work, the SB editorial board favors the hourly approach to life’s work (the type of pay at a job isn’t usually up to the workers, anyway). Instead of thinking “I just have to get X done to be successful,” try thinking “My job as a husband/father  is X, and I’m on the job, so I must do it.”

Broom Stitchers

One of the most important jobs here at the broom factory is broom-stitching, putting the pieces together. We want skippers to think of themselves as broom stitchers. It’s a mighty important job, one that can make or break a broom, but it’s not the only job. So with your family. Your wife, your kids, your house, your health, your everything depends on more than just you. If you put the outcome entirely on yourself, not only are you taking credit away from others who have worked hard, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure when the harvest looks different from what you expected.

The trick to avoiding this messiah complex, according to Dr. Moore, is to be like the Messiah: when your work’s done, stop. Let the other workers do their parts.