“Teamwork makes the dream work!”
We had just piled into the back of Habib’s pickup truck and were on our way to start what I call stage three of our chicken farming experience as volunteers on Kibbutz Tel Katsir. (Kibbutzim are communal farming settlements in Israel.) We had eagerly signed up to study the Bible in the land of the Bible for a year with Baptists for Israel Institute. Little did we know that our horizons were about to be stretched to include Chicken Farming 101.
In stage one, my friend Laurel and I cleaned and disinfected the chicken houses and equipment. This shared job proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We chatted and worked together and even survived an encounter with what we thought was a Middle Eastern deathstalker scorpion in a very dark closet of the poultry house. Laurel became an instant “adventure buddy” for life!
A few days later, more volunteers joined in the fun at stage two and helped in laying down the bedding (soft wood shavings) in six large poultry houses. I didn’t think it could get much more fun than singing in the sawdust with friends, but the best was yet to come.
The final stage (for our services, anyway) was—are you ready for this?—“chick chucking.” I won’t go into detail, but you should know that it was not as violent as it sounds. It was really more cute than anything.
Our volunteer work did not stop at chicken farming, however. We also worked in a medical kit factory and enjoyed practicing our Hebrew with the Israeli workers. They were patient with us as we tried and failed to communicate with words before moving on to gestures. Much laughter and work was accomplished in that factory, but I’m not sure how much language acquisition occurred.
A few years later, working with The Friends of Israel, God provided me with the opportunity to lead groups of Christian young adults from Canada and the U.S. to volunteer at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel. While cleaning in and around the hospital grounds, we worked together in groups. Oftentimes, our volunteers would be seen smiling, singing, chatting while working and cleaning. The hospital always welcomed our groups because they said we lifted morale among their workers and patients.
It’s fulfilling to share in the sense of accomplishment with others.
There’s just something about cooperative labor that makes work seem almost… pleasurable. Enjoyable. Dare I say it—fun! It’s fulfilling to share in the sense of accomplishment with others.
“In the beginning, God [Elohim] created….” Elohim is the first name of God referenced in the Hebrew Scriptures. Translated “God,” El means “mighty one” or “supreme one,” and Elohim is the plural form. Elohim also applied to human rulers who hold a position of supreme authority. It is interesting to note that Elohim refers to Himself in the plural during the creation account. Sometimes the text uses singular personal pronouns, and sometimes Elohim consults with Himself using plural personal pronouns. A unity of plurality is present throughout this creative work. We refer to this doctrine as the Trinity, or Tri-unity, of God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).
“Then Elohim said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion… over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26).
Being created in the image of God, humanity shares a desire for relationship and cooperative work. Throughout all creation, God evaluated His work as “good” until Adam was created. God said it is not good that man should be alone. So Elohim made woman in order to be a suitable helper (2:20–23). We have been learning how to work together ever since.
May we unite our hearts in joyful service to the Supreme God of this universe, Elohim!
Make a joyful shout to the Lᴏʀᴅ, all you lands!
Serve the Lᴏʀᴅ with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lᴏʀᴅ, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.