Have you ever made a bad investment? Maybe it was money that you put into something that was expected to go big but went bust. Maybe it was buying something that seemed like a really good deal only to realize you’d been had and there was no recourse. Maybe it was time invested in a relationship that soured. Or energy and passion poured into a project that did not end in the desired outcome. All of us make bad investments.
The thing about investing in justice is that we often don’t see the ripened fruits of our labors. We may not live to see the desired outcome. We may never enjoy the sweet savor of success. Throughout history, people have worked for things like equal rights and voting rights and fair housing and an end to discrimination and have not gotten to enjoy the full satisfaction of what they were striving to achieve.
This afternoon, a huge crowd of people paraded through St. Petersburg in celebration of the gains that have been achieved by the Fair Food Campaign of the Coalition of Immokalee workers. Many corporations have agreed to buy tomatoes from growers that allow the workers shade, water, a process for lodging complaints especially about sexual harassment, and, pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes. Publix has not yet signed on to the agreement nor has Wendy’s. But the campaign is expanding to other crops and to other segments of the labor force. There is more work to do. Just because things have gotten better in the tomatoes fields does not mean that the work of justice is done. Even when Wendy’s and Publix have signed on, the work of justice will still not be complete. That will be another milestone, but there will still be a path ahead that remains to be forged toward justice for all workers and for all people.
Our faith compels us to keep investing ourselves in justice. Pouring ourselves into this work. Even if we don’t reap the full benefits, hopefully, one day, others will. The scripture verse comes to mind, “Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1] Today in downtown St. Petersburg among the farmworkers and allies, we saw faith.
Lectionary readings for today:
Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16
Prayer: May we invest ourselves in the divine mandate for justice. Amen.