When Ricky finally gets a job, after a long stretch out of work, he thinks he has landed on his feet. Driving for PDF deliveries he is self-employed, his own boss, and the man at PDF promises him he can earn good money. He also tells him he doesn’t work FOR PDF, but with them.
However, parking tickets aside, there are plenty of other hidden costs. Ricky is given his own digital scanner/phone/satnav device, for registering his daily orders, and he must deliver everything within a given time slot. If he loses the device it will cost him £1000. In order to buy his own van he persuades Abbie, his wife, to sell her car, even though this is vital transport for her job as a home carer. Like Ricky, Abbie has a list of clients to reach every day, with limited time to do so, and bussing it adds plenty of extra stress. Both are now working long hours and the pressure builds on Ricky and his family. His daughter Eliza starts to wish things could go back to the time before dad took up driving. His son Sebastian meanwhile is skipping school.
Be kind to the delivery man or woman at your door. You never know what sort of day they have had or what pressures they are living with. This is a depressing tale of life at the edges. A caring family shredded by the nature of modern living. You find yourself wondering how folks can treat each other with such lack of respect. Ricky’s boss is a hard taskmaster, and some of his customers give him abuse. After one happy Saturday of taking his daughter along to help out, Ricky is then told a client has complained and he cannot have a passenger with him. Even though he is driving his own van, with his own insurance. If there is one thing that Jesus did it is this – he always treated people with dignity and humanity, as precious, unique individuals. He became fully human so he could show us what humanity is truly about. There are many glimpses of that humanity in this story, not least in Ricky’s family who battle to keep going and, though they have their falling-outs, deeply care for each other, and show it. ‘Be kind to one another,’ Paul writes in his email to the Ephesians, ‘just as God is kind to you.’ We need that kindness now don’t we?
Thanks Dave – It’s really good to reflect on the stress and strain that work can bring to all kinds of people. I really try to show warmth and kindness to the delivery people who I know appreciate it.
It’s also important to consider how Christians can set up/establish factories and work places that honour God’s purposes for business. My organisation Thinking Faith Network has just run a conference on business. I am very inspired by George Cadbury who owned a wonderful chocolate factory and he filled it with God’s love and mercy. He loved inviting his employees to swim in his swimming pool on company time. He enjoyed closing the factory early in order to play a cracking game of cricket with his workers. He sometimes told his employees to go and play football when they looked fed up. Cadbury’s story tells us so much about Jesus and His kingdom. It isn’t just about church and its busy programmes. God shines in everything that is good.”