Flint is a General Motors town. General Motors was born in the city of Flint and so was the United Auto Workers Union. There are more GM retirees living in Genesee County than any other county in the country. The truck assembly plant is less than a half a mile down Bristol Road from Central Church. So when the UAW strikes General Motors, it effects our city, many of our friends and families and our church.
I’ve checked the scriptures regarding strikes and while the word “Strike” is used 95 times in the Bible. None of those instances involve picket signs. I’m fairly certain that Zechariah 13:7 is not a call to arms for the sheep of the world when the prophet states: “Strike the shepherd.” Although it makes for a fun mind game (in Far Side comic fashion) to think of sheep holding little picket signs shouting, “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho! The Shepherd Man has got to go!”
Likewise, the Bible never mentions Chevy, Ford, or Chrysler. Although it does say in Acts 2:1 that “the believers were in one accord.” I’m fairly certain that reference is not about Honda vehicles (but says more about my affinity to old, corny jokes).
That is not to say that God does not care about workers and management. He does. Of course, there were no factories in the Bible times. It was an agricultural society. Yet the Bible talks about justice when it comes to workers. The book of James states, “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” (James 5:4) 1 Timothy 5:18 says, “The worker deserves his wages.”
The Bible speaks to a number of feelings that can arise during a strike:
When anxious and uncertain: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
When discouraged: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God. Psalm 42:5
When worried: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27
When getting upset: Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity. Proverb 14:29 (The Message Version)
During the strike and after the strike: Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
Remember during these days to pray for the families affected by the strike. Pray for the negotiations. Pray for a speedy end to the labor stoppage. Pray for General Motors management and safety for those walking the picket lines. Finally, my friends, these words are good no matter which side of the negotiation table you sit: May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father. Colossians 1:11.
Grace and Peace!