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By David Bachelor, PhD
Pastor, Pearsall 1st Methodist Church
The national labor shortage has been in the news since America started to come out of lockdown. However, this week there was an aspect of insufficient employees that had not been in the headlines before. The facet making the news was workers who quit.
NPR reports a New York hospital is getting out of the baby business: “Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, N.Y., announced Friday that it is pausing maternity services later this month because dozens of staff members quit rather than get COVID-19 vaccines.” The article also noted 150 staff of Houston Methodist hospital system and one in ten bus drivers of the Chicago Public Schools quit rather than comply with the vaccine mandate. More departures are expected.
The BBC featured another epidemic motivating those who terminate their employment in the article, “Why Rage-quitting is All the Rage.” Citing the country music song “Take this Job and Shove It,” rage quitting is defined as “angrily walking out of a job.” Various triggers were listed: short staffing, intense manager demands, responsibility creep and safety concerns. The financial newsletter GoBankingRates.com advises workers considering this option to “have emergency savings to cover three to six months of living expenses set aside to keep you afloat if you rage quit.” The article notes that those who rage quit are not eligible for unemployment. It suggests having their next job lined up before pulling the trigger is a better option than financing their post-rage life by tapping into retirement accounts or using credit cards.
Tapping into retirement funds or accumulating credit card debt is better than the option chosen by the Biblical character Ahithophel. Ahithophel was an advisor to Absalom, King David’s son. Ahithophel was very successful and was moving up the corporate ladder. However, there was one occasion when Absalom disregarded Ahithophel counsel and took the advice of Ahithophel’s rival. When this happened, Ahithophel took the rage quit option (2 Sam 17:23). It was not long after this that Ahithophel committed suicide. Less tragic was Levi the tax-collector who quit his job after he had a religious conversion (Luke 5:28). Levi left everything at his desk and never looked back.
Ahithophel and Levi were not the last believers to contemplate quitting their job. Mark Ballenger, on his webpage “Apply God’s Word” wrote an article “How to Know if God is Telling You to Quit Your Job.” Ballenger suggests two simple tests before giving notice: 1) Does the job make you act against your core beliefs? And/or: 2) Has another opportunity or source of provision presented itself? I believe these standards help explain the exodus of workers from the vaccine mandate and I hope those who rage quit wait until they have another option waiting for them