By Richard Rosario
Thinking back on my first job, I believe it was special. I love ice cream and I was privileged enough to work at an ice cream shop. At the time, I did not think so since scooping and making ice cream was harder than I thought. Nevertheless, looking back I see that scooping was an ideal “first job.”
Perhaps at the time, I thought that “I” got my first job. However, the reality was that so many things had to come into play in order for that to happen.
I must have applied to 20 different places. At the time, I did not have my own car so my mom or dad would drive me from business to business to drop off applications. It was not until I heard from my friend Sierra that the ice cream shop she was working at was hiring that I finally found a good lead on a job. After submitting an application and interviewing, the owner decided to give me my first employment opportunity.
After starting, I realized scooping ice cream required a lot more work than what I had originally imagined. First, my hands were extremely sore the first week. Then, I never sat down so I was on my feet the entire shift. Lastly, my mind had to measure the ingredients when making the ice cream, or measuring the amount each customer was to receive.
The feeling of saving enough for a used car and having my own money was something that a teenager in high school could not get over. I thought I was a “big boy” and did something all on my own. But I was wrong.
Why was I wrong? I scooped that ice cream. I worked those late night shifts. (What ice cream store stays open until midnight?) I was the employee making that (minimum wage) earning. But did I really not do all of this on my own?
Well no. First, my parents were the ones driving me around the entire city until I finally found a job. My friend Sierra did not just tell me about the job, she also told the owner about me before we even met. Then, the owner was the one who extended the offer. So technically my first job was not because of me, but because of those who helped me.
Similarly, if God had not given me certain gifts that we normally take for granted, I would not have been able to work there. The hands I used to scoop the ice cream were gifts from God. The feet I used to get around the store were gifts from God. The mental capacity to function in that job was a gift from God. Unfortunately, not everyone has these gifts.
As much as I thought myself as the “big boy” who got his first job, I was really experiencing Stewardship through others. I did not do this by myself, and God did not come down from heaven and hand me a job application. I received gifts from God through the people around me.
That paycheck I used, that also was thanks to God and those around me. Because of that, I now have the responsibility – a baptismal duty – to appreciate that gift and return to the Lord. Now that does not mean stick my whole check in the offertory. But it does mean that I have to make a prayerful, intentional and proportional offering every Sunday along with making a pledge (and fulfilling it) to our diocesan annual appeal.
Who knew my first job was so spiritual? In the end, I didn’t become a “big boy” because I got my first job, but because I acknowledged the gifts that helped me get it and showed my appreciation by responsibly tithing for the first time in my parish and diocese.