Day 03 Devotional & Discussion – February 20, 2015

Leviticus 25:39-43, Exodus 1:8-14

God’s Labor Policy in Leviticus prevented perpetual slavery (release was required in the year of Jubilee, which occurred every 49 years) and banned harsh treatment of workers—the exact opposite of what God’s people had experienced as slaves in Egypt. What was the worst treatment you experience as a worker? Has that experience made you more sensitive to labor issues? How?



  1. I can’t say that I’ve had any jobs where I was treated poorly. I’ve some where the work was stressful or where I realized I was not a good fit for the position. As I think about it, there were a couple position where my salary was borderline not enough to provide for my family. Both turned out to be short-term employments. And the first one, working at a local auto auction, was actually generously created for me so that I can have a M-F daytime schedule while we were raising support to be missionaries. Our mission board allowed us to supplement our income with missionary support, so it worked. Currently I have wrestled with payment of pastors, my current role. In some ways, I feel like I have a wonderful salary. In other ways, I wonder if I should be paid more. My kids qualified for CHIP because of my salary level. Does that say something? I don’t know. I am also a part-time adjunct professor, which is necessary for my family to stay afloat. And in that arena, there is a growing movement about how adjuncts are the new working poor. As a part-time job, it is great! But if a prof was trying to make a living on adjunct remuneration, I suspect they would have to teach 30-40 courses every year!

    1. Thanks for the link about adjunct professors. Not-for-profit organizations and churches really struggle with salaries because their income is dependent upon generosity of others. As incomes for most people have stagnated and foundations have pulled back, non-profits are seeing their income decline. Payroll is the largest expense for these organizations so salaries often are frozen or cut. I really struggled with this when I was ED of a non-profit. I don’t have the answer yet.

  2. My worst job? Washing dishes in the Hillside dorm cafeteria at the University of Iowa. For minimum wage pay, I got to clean up everybody’s mess. Some students, I’m sure, made their trays as gross as possible just to make my job more “fun.” Most students probably didn’t even think about who cleaned their plates. That experience definitely has made me more compassionate toward people who clean up. Custodians, sanitation workers, CNAs and busboys deserve better than minimum wage.

    1. My worst job was phone soliciting for a home improvement company. Minimum wage, with the possibility of getting a bonus. Very stressful. Slavery indeed. I had this job in high school, and city college.

    2. Now you’re jogging my memory…I worked at a local apple packing plant in high school. I had to come in early on Saturdays and powerwash wax (used to make the apples shine) off rollers on a conveyor belt. The company was owned by my cousin’s mom’s family, and I worked with him often. I’ll never forget him saying that every time he walks in that place it was a motivation for him to do well in college.

  3. I have to say my worst job was probably doing dishes as well at a hotel. I have to say as someone who lives right on the “poverty” line, but is a conservative in principal, I choose to read and follow this blog for lent as a way to understand the otherside of the isle and find the common ground for both sides. I understand my side but to truly understand the oppotiste side I want to read and keep my heart open to what God truly wants for all. I love having a open honest debate with all in a loving open forum.

  4. That is one thing with you Pastor Ray I know that I can trust. Good to see all the things that are still happening in my favorite city. And birthpace of my oldest Daughter Rebecca. One day I will bring her there and I will be sure to stop in and say hi to all my friends from Kimball Ave 🙂

  5. I think the worst paying job I ever had was my first one. I was 17 and worked as a secretary at the local radio station. I was filling in for a summer for someone who was on maternity leave, I think. My grandparents knew the owner and I think he did me a favor. When I look back on it, I was definitely treated poorly for being young and a woman. Even that, though, wasn’t that bad. What has made me more compassionate about worker justice is being a mom, I think. Giving birth in a hospital is a hugely humbling act and people choose nursing as a career. They clean up after people in their most vulnerable states. That is a job that deserves more pay. And taking care of kids all day helps me appreciate teachers and child care workers and anyone who takes care of the young or handicapped or ill or elderly. Those are the heroes. But I’m also learning to appreciate people like sanitation workers who pick up our garbage. A friend of mine gives her garbage collectors gift cards for Subway or some other local food place every year for Christmas. What a small but important act of recognition!

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