Our new-this-morning unemployment rate of 9.7% doesn’t begin to fully tell the story of the 7.4 million jobs lost since the current recession began in December 2007.
And for every one of those people without work, there is a story. . .a story of lost income. . .a story of emotional upheaval. . .a story of psychological distress.
Those families where jobs are lost experience higher rates of health issues, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. And the snowballing effects of unemployment lead many to feel that suicide is the only way out.
Yet somehow this weekend, we will celebrate Labor Day in the United States. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating holidays. And I’m all for celebrating the jobs that we do have in our nation. I just pray that in our quest to put an exclamation point on summer that we will find it in our hearts to be mindful of those who feel left behind by an economic environment that shows marginal improvement, at best.
Here are a few tips on how to connect with others in need this Labor Day weekend:
- Invite an unemployed family over to your place for a cook-out. Show them you care, and for a couple hours, help them escape from the constant worry that comes with being out of work and low on hope.
- Help someone polish a resume. A well-written and cleanly formatted resume can set a person apart in job screening processes. Your assistance could make a huge difference!
- Write a letter of recommendation for a friend or former colleague who is struggling to find work.
- Send a card or note of encouragement to someone who needs to know you care about their situation.
- Offer to watch the children of an unemployed parent for a few hours. This break will do wonders for them!
- Give a gift card for food or gasoline to someone without work. In this economy, even the basic resources are hard to come by, as indicated by the record numbers of people on government assistance.
- Make a donation of good-quality dress clothing and/or shoes to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill Store. After all, how many of us have far more than we need — in a wide range of sizes — hanging in our closets? Your gently used but poorly fitting garments might be great for a job interview situation for someone in need.
As the old saying goes, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” I contend that if our nation is to get back on the right track, those of us who belong to Christ must start acting like it! It’s time for us to turn back to God, fall on our knees and repent of our sin. . .and demonstrate His amazing love to those in need.
You can be missional right where you are. No travel required. Look for the opportunities around you. . .and get involved in Jesus’ name.
Remember His words?
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” (Matthew 25: 35-39)