Terry and I recently ate a meal at McClure’s in Pomeroy. As a treat, she ordered for herself a strawberry shake.
After some delicious slurps, she asked, “Do you remember ‘the strawberry story’ of the brothers?”
I replied, “That was a long time ago. Remind me.”
She said we urged the older boys — Ron, Keithen, and Eran — to try to find things to do whereby they could make a little money. There were little things around the community of Oak Grove Road people wanted done. Early on we had been teaching the boys the importance of work.
Along Route 2 between St. Marys and Parkersburg, an acquaintance operated a fruit stand. While making a purchase one day, Terry asked the man how he got his strawberries. He replied that he picked them himself. She told him that she had sons willing to work and wanting to make some money, and that they could pick them for him if he wanted. The man was pleased at the offer. He would pay for the strawberries plus twenty-five cents a quart.
The boys were picking the next day. Picking the strawberries, however, was not an easy chore. The constant bending over was hard on the back. The weather was very hot. It rained on them. It took them several hours to get the picking done.
Upon delivery, the fruit stand man paid the going rate at that time, 85 cents per quart, for the cost, then twenty-five cents per quart for their labor. For fifty quarts, the brothers earned all of $12.50 — combined — total — all together — a little over four dollars per.
While they expressed disappointment at the profit of their working venture, they did come up with their own plan. They would pick the strawberries and pay the cost, but then they would peddle the strawberries locally at four dollars per quart.
When word got out that the brothers had strawberries for sell, they sold out within an hour just about. Their personal profits became more acceptable. Excited about their success, they did another strawberry picking that summer. This time, they took orders from previous customers, as well as from new customers, too. As before, the strawberries were sold out very quickly.
Early on, the brothers — and their other three brothers — realized that if they wanted a special baseball card, or if they wanted to have a nice stash for vacation, they had to put in some work for it. They were just not entitled to it.
The principle of working has carried over into life. They each are good workers in their prospective fields. They each provide well for their families.
This leads us a present point to consider: Is our present society at large forgetting about the importance of work? Or, do we see life at hand as a matter of entitlement from the hands of others or from the checks of government?
The Scripture is clear about practicing the principle of work. When with the church people of Thessalonica, Paul commanded them “that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” According to Apostle Paul, non-workers become “disorderly, and are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own bread.”
God wants us to work, and to do the best we can in the exercise thereof, to make the best that we can and the most that we can. It is right and good, for life should not be regarded just as a program of entitlements.
Anymore, I thank people who serve me with their working. Many times, I give them tips for what they do.
And, by the way, that lady who made my chocolate shake did real good, too. I figured that if Terry was going to have a milk shake, so was I!
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.