Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heaven on Earth – Worthington, Minnesota


Psalm 126:  "When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.  2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

At the Renville County Fair last week, I visited with a neighbor and friend who is a farmer and a college instructor.  He told me the story that I am about to share with you.

He was on a tour of a meat processing plant in Worthington, Minnesota; the plant employs some recent immigrants from Southeast Asia.  He thinks they are from Laos or Cambodia.  Another tour group was going through the plant at the same time; a group from Southeast Asia.  The Southeast Asian group asked the tour guide if they could talk to the employees.  The tour guide agreed and the group began to ask questions of a Southeast Asian employee.  They asked him, “What is it like working here?”

The worker replied, “It’s Heaven on earth.”  “People are nice to me here,” he added.  “In my old country we have thugs and bandits coming through our village every couple of weeks stealing stuff, terrorizing us, and sometimes killing someone to send a message and remind us of their power and violence.” 

“I live in a house,” he continued.  “I never dreamed of living in a house”  (He shares the house with another family); “I always lived in a hut.  I have a car—never dreamed of having a car!  The water and air are clean; I work and get paid every two weeks.  My wife and kids are not afraid; this is Heaven on earth!”  My friend said that nearly everyone present had tears in their eyes.

I’ve thought about this—Heaven on earth in Worthington, Minnesota; working in a meat processing plant!  Let’s be honest, most of us would consider this kind of job “below us.”  We take much for granted in America.  Much of what this man treasures we think God owes us or we take for granted.

We need to kneel down and pray; no, more than that, we need to be face down, asking for forgiveness for our indifference to God’s many blessings.  Yes, we need to repent and, if so led by the Spirit, weep.

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