Piecework and peace work
Thomas Bonham is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
She was just a dishwasher in a restaurant. Part of her duty was the shuttling of dirty dishes to the kitchen and the return of clean ones to the shelves under the lunch counter. As she was busily arranging these, a man seated at the counter asked her, “Don’t you wish your job was piecework?” The term was unfamiliar to her. She looked up with a questioning look, then a jagged-tooth smile broke over her expressive face as she replied, “Brother, I’m makin’ peace every chance I get! I’m doin’ peace work!”
My second job out of high school, before entering trade school, was at the Crouse-Hinds Company in Syracuse, N.Y. I drove a forklift shuttling unassembled parts and pieces to staging areas waiting time for assembly. When all the materials for a certain job were accounted for, it was time for the assembly line to go to work. My job was to supply the needed materials to the line and remove the assembled product to another area for shipping. Normally six to eight workers would work independently assembling different products and were paid hourly plus a bonus for each piece finish assembled, hence the term “piecework.” Every now and then the assembly of a large product came to the line. In that case all six or eight workers would work together as a team to assemble the product, each doing a specific part of the assembly. As a team they were also doing piecework and paid a bonus as to how fast they could do the assembly run. My job got real fast and furious supplying parts and clearing away finished pieces. Keeping peace when I fell behind, which slowed the assembly line, was difficult, and people are grumpy when they’re losing money. But, I soon learned that hustling the pieces was the best way to keep peace on the line, and grumbling to a minimum.
As the story goes, a congregation built a new building and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired its beauty. Up on the roof, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely structure -- except the nail. No one even knew he was there, and he became angry and jealous. “If I’m that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!” So the nail released his hold, slid down the roof, and fell in the mud. That night a great storm arose and it rained and rained. The shingle that had no nail blew away, and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall, the carpet was stained, and the pulpit Bible was ruined by water. All this because a little nail decided to quit.
[Hebrews 10:23-25 and Revelation 2:9-10] But what of the nail? While holding the shingle, it was obscure, but it was also useful. Buried in the mud, it was just as obscure, but now it was useless, soon to be eaten up by rust. Every member is important to the church. Like the nail, you may feel obscure at times, but just like the nail, your absence is felt. When one leaves the church, because they feel unimportant, their life begins to decay as the influences of the world fill their thoughts. No one seems to see them as important, buried out there in the world, and now they are at the mercy of God’s wrath. Each member of the church has a duty of piecework, bringing souls to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and helping one another with the struggles of life. And, of peace work, teaching, and edifying one another with the truth and grace of God and Jesus Christ, our Savior. “... I know your afflictions and your poverty -- yet you are rich! ... Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.