Rich man, poor man,
Beggar man, thief,
When I was a girl, we played a game in which we repeated this rhyme while pointing one by one to the buttons on our blouses. When we came to the end of our buttons, we had “determined” the occupation of the person we would marry.
The “Rich Man, Poor Man” game was a silly children’s game, but I grew up with some superstitions that I really believed. When I was a teenager, I often wished on the first star I saw at night. I would never have walked under a ladder or opened an umbrella indoors. I was leery of Friday the thirteenth. Any of these could have brought me “bad luck.”
However, I taught my children to have nothing to do with witchcraft and magic and fortune telling. If I could do it all over again, I would train them that way again. Here’s why:
For those nations, which you shall dispossess,
listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners,
but as for you,
the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
I wanted my children to entrust their futures to God and to talk to Him about whatever they were “wishing” for.
The “Rich Man, Poor Man” rhyme came to mind when I started thinking about what I wanted to share with you today. Notice that the rhyme teaches that some occupations are honorable and others are not.
I feel differently about the worthiness of various occupations today from the way I did many years ago. It’s not just doctors, lawyers, merchants, and chiefs whose occupations are honorable. All honest work is. I am thankful that people have various skills that I do not have. Sometimes I need to hire them to use those skills at my house!
We are definitely at a point at which we need people with a variety of skills around our house. Yesterday, window experts took out one of our kitchen windows to restore it to how it looked over one hundred years ago; we hope they can come back today to get the other one (they say it’s about the same price as replacing them!). Today, insulation experts are here to insulate our attic. Next week, heating and cooling experts are scheduled to put in central heat and air. We have spent ten cold winters in this drafty old house. Each of those experts is here to help solve that drafty problem. It’s time.
We had to move stuff out of the kitchen so paint chips and dirt wouldn’t land on them. We had to clean out and organize the attic so that the insulation experts would have room to maneuver. We had to take our Christmas decorations out of storage so they can get into the space where we store them. I decided that I would just go ahead and decorate for Christmas rather than take them out, put them back, and then take them out again. Of course, right now they are spread out all over the place. I told Ray I wanted to straighten them up before our experts come today, so it would look like I was decorating and not like someone broke in and ransacked the house!
Uh, we have a mess! And I didn’t mention that we decided to remodel our office, largely because it too needed insulation and central heat and air. Office machines are like Goldilocks: they don’t like it too hot or too cold. We thought we would take that room down to the original floor. It was too rotten; we had to go down to the dirt and work our way back up again. Our expert son-in-law is overseeing that and doing a great deal of the work, too.
So, what do we learn from all this? People made in God’s image can do amazing things. A person who knows how to do something really well and who has the discipline actually to do that thing blesses others. What talents has God given to each of my children? Am I trusting God with how He made my children, or do I wish I could put on a different blouse with a different number of buttons?
Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.