News broke all over the country about a pretty gal in Buffalo, NY who worked 11 hours per day, six days a week at a laundry mat and dry cleaners. Nothing unusual about that, right? But this woman was 100 years old and she had no plans to retire! Her name was Felimina Rotundo. She got her first job when she was 15 years old, during the Great Depression. It was back-breaking work back then and paid peanuts. But the alternative was starving and she was glad to have a job. She has worked continuously for 85 years.
But the years of hard labor don’t seem to have hurt her a bit and certainly haven’t slowed her down. This little dynamo credits working as what has been keeping her alive for so long. In an interview, Felimina told one reporter that she believes that the elderly get sick because they don’t do enough.
Felimina’s life stands in stark contrast to the millions of Americans – many young enough to be her grandchildren – whose preoccupation is skirting work and responsibility. Something’s wrong with that. A 100-year-old woman should not be out-performing a 25-year-old adult.
Maybe we’ve got the wrong attitude about work. Maybe work is not an evil to be endured until retirement comes along. Maybe work is a healthy thing and gives us purpose and a sense of worth. Aren’t we happiest when our lives are productive and we’re contributing to others?
Be careful about adopting the standard “glide path” our society prescribes for us: “Work for retirement!” Maybe it’s never too late to invest in education and self-improvement. Maybe we should always be seeking ways to be productive and preparing ourselves for other tasks when our physical strength declines.
Physical labor and an industrious spirit are praised in the Scripture, while laziness is condemned (e.g. Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4-5, 26; 12:11, 27; 13:4, 11; 14:4, 23-24; 15:19; 1924; 20:4, 13; 21:25-26; 22:13, 29; 23:21; 24:27, 30-34; 26:13-16; 27:18, 23-27; 28:19; 31:10-31; Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 4:12; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12). Labor is as much our element as water is a fish’s. God put us on this planet to work and be productive that we might have something to share with others.
Dear Father in heaven, please change my heart and attitude. Help me not to view work as an evil to be avoided, but as an opportunity to be productive and bless others. Deliver me from laziness and make me a productive member of society. Amen.