We recently visited with one of our children, who happens to be a police officer in a large city. He has never had to fire his weapon in the line of duty, except at the firing range in order to keep his required qualification status.
He sincerely believes that his primary duty as a sworn officer of the law is "to serve and protect." And he does.
Contrary to what we often see on TV, his proudest moment as a policeman was when he saved someone's life a couple of years ago. He did not mention it, but his family told us about it and that he received a commendation for it. Would that there were more like him.
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I recently read an article written by Mark D. Roberts, of the Max DePree Foundation, wherein he said that when God instructed Adam to take care of Eden, the original language "to till it and to keep it" quite literally meant to serve and protect it.
Not to dominate it, nor exploit it, nor neglect it; but to protect and serve it. Mr. Roberts offered that this is a prototype of what is really intended for work that is meaningful and satisfying.
We can protect and serve, no matter what line of work we are in.
If we are a teacher, we are to protect and serve our students.
If we are a doctor or nurse, we are to protect and serve our patients.
If we are an administrator, we are to protect and serve those in our organization.
If we are an HR professional, we are to protect and serve our employees.
Even if we are an elected official (also known as, heaven for fend, a politician) we are supposed to protect and serve our constituents.
(Here I could go off on a tangent about whatever happened to the concept of being a "public servant"; but I'll save that for another day.)
If we are a farmer, we are to protect our crops or herds, so that we may serve our consumers the food needed for life.
And so it goes. In today's society, the generally prevailing attitude is, more often than not, win at any cost. Outdo the other guy. If making her look bad makes me look better, so be it.
I suspect that this unbridled ambition, and mean-spirited competition, is why so many are miserable in their work.
Once again, it appears that God knew what would lead to a satisfying life, when the first work he assigned mankind was to "till it and keep it" - or put another way, to protect and serve, regardless of where, or what, our particular role might be.
It's a thought.
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Let's hope we have something worth tending and keeping today. If we do, let's share it with someone, shall we? Until next time, your grateful gardener ~ Marsha