Big Henry

Big Henry dominated the chopping room at Hatfield Packing Company. The chopping room produced sausages, hot dogs, luncheon meats and was Big Henry’s domain. I first heard of him during my interview with Phil, the personnel director when he informed me that I would be “working with Big Henry and his crew.” This was great news at the time; it meant that I would be able to provide for my family and at the same time, continue my education. I could work full-time on the second shift and go to classes in the morning.

That afternoon, Phil took me to a chopping room to meet my new boss. He was called “Big Henry” because he was a very large man. Although he was not too tall – about 5 foot 10, he was very muscular and large not fat, but big. Reporting to work the next morning, I quickly learned some important facts. First, he was “in charge” – his word was law. Second, he was threatened by educated people. Third, he hated Christians. Finally, he did not think much of newcomers to his team. I soon realized not to take his sarcasm and demeaning remarks personally. He was like that to almost everyone!

Facing disdain and derision is difficult. Thinking to yourself, “he’s just like that,” only goes so far. Continuous condescension and contempt require resources beyond us.

Psalm 123 provides sound advice for us as we face ridicule and contempt.
To you, I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.”

This song addresses our perspective, that is how we “see” our circumstances, especially when we face scorn and contempt. Scorn is scoffing, derision, or ridicule. While contempt may be defined as being made little of, being laughed at, or despised. It is difficult to be made fun of and laughed at. The adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is simply not true. Words sting and bite. Words can hurt and do long-term damage.

So, it is essential that we deal with them effectively. The opening lines of this Psalm do just that. Note the emphasis on “eyes” and “looking”. Now observe the cries for mercy, which indicate the desire for relief and help in severe distress and hostility, which are identified as contempt and scorn.

This is just the remedy we need! We are to look up (lift up our eyes). This is more than just trying to be optimistic. We are to look beyond ourselves to the LORD.
Our focus is to be fixed on the LORD who rules over everything (who is enthroned in the heavens) and whose power is so great that he created the heavens and the earth (we are reminded of Psalm 121). The LORD has pledged to be our keeper forever!
Further, we know that he is compassionate and will show us mercy or pity. We can depend on his divine aid and gracious assistance.

So now we know what to do. All that remains is for us to do it! Much easier said than done!

The other day I was going for a jaunt with my grandson, who is learning to ride and control his bicycle. He safely crossed the busy road just ahead of me and entered the protected bike lanes. As I entered, he wandered into the other lane, nearly colliding with me. He immediately responded, “Sorry Pop-Pop, I didn’t see you.” Rather than focusing on his surroundings, he was fixated on his front tire and the pavement immediately in front of him. He learned the importance of being aware of his surroundings.

Like Jonathan, we need to be reminded to “look up!” The One who is enthroned in the heavens has promised to watch over us and protect us. He delights to hear us when we cry out for mercy.

So here is the lesson: When you have had more than enough of ridicule, remember that the One who rules from heaven, has promised to help you.
Look up and cry out to him! He will surely pour out his compassion on you.

2 thoughts on “Big Henry

  1. I, too, had a boss who was scornful of me. It is very wearying. It does encourage us to look to God for strength, makes us thankful for greener pastures (that happened fast because I was let go!), and in my case I hope made me more compassionate toward new employees. Also I have been more equipped to weather such treatment in my future professional relationships without fear. Thankfully, eventually better mutually understanding relationships have evolved. God is good.

  2. Big Henry & I Locked Horns 2-3 Times. Your Description Of Him Was Spot On. I Worked For Him 4 Years & Loved Him In Spite Of Himself. He Was Good Bootcamp For The Next 11 Years, Under My Next Boss. Henry Was Pleasant In Comparison. During My 11th. Year Of Continual Conflict I Caught Myself Using Some Very Nasty Language Under My Breath, At Home, Recalling The Mistreatment I Had Endured That Day! I Felt Convicted, Cause We Are To Pray For Our Enemies. I Asked Forgiveness For My Response & Prayed For That Supervisor. I Asked For Help To Love Him. I Did Some Nice Things For Him & Within 6 Months He Did A 180. If I Remember, I Received My First GOOD Evaluation From Him In 10-11 Years. In The 12th. Year The Supervisor Got Transferred To Another Dept.,Because He Mistreated A Wrong Person. I Sincerely HATED Seeing Him Go! It Was His 2nd. Transfer For Such Actions. He Is A Different Person Today, The LORD Performed A Great Job Healing This Act!!! .We Have No Excuse For Our Actions But There’s More To Our Actions & Motivations. I, Big Henry, & My 12 Year Boss, (All) Experienced A (TIME) In Our Deformative Yrs. P.T.L.!!! Thanks, Kip For Drudging Up Some Memories!

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