“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” ~Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)
Work…ugh…work. Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me. Biblically, however, work was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden…before The Fall. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) Everything that God brought forth at the time of Creation was good; therefore, it makes sense that God also intended work to be good. So, in the everyday drudgery of our jobs, how do we find the goodness that God intended? How can we come to see work as more than just a means to an end? I have been thinking about this a great deal lately.
I have several passions in life. Insurance (my career) is not one of them. Even so, I truly believe that I am exactly where God wants me to be. Before accepting my current position, I prayed on it at length, and for many reasons, it is clear to me that my current job is, indeed, God’s will for this “season” of my life.
So, I believe that the first part of finding divine goodness in work is remembering, even on the worst days, that it is God’s will for me to be exactly where I am. Just because circumstances at my workplace have changed, it does not necessarily mean that God’s will for my life has changed. If the time comes for me to move on, I’m confident that He will let me know.
I pray for unwavering obedience to God’s will.
I believe the second factor to finding goodness in work is realizing that no matter what you do for a living, if done for the glory of God, it is all His work. It is not only pastors, missionaries, and preachers that labor for The Lord. It is all of us (even insurance people!) if done with love.
There is a young man who works at a local fast food drive-thru that best exemplifies this to me. His name is Vondell and because my son, Eric, and I have a hectic schedule, I probably see Vondell more often than I should! In all of my years, I have never encountered anyone at a drive thru window with such a gracious spirit. He’s young, probably barely twenty, but he is wise beyond his years when it comes to dealing with people.
Not only am I greeted with a smile every time he is working, but he takes the time, every single time, to ask me how my day is going or how work was for me that day. That may not seem like a big deal, but what separates this from small talk, is that he actually takes the time to listen to my answer! He doesn’t ask and turn his head from the window. He asks, and then stays connected, to hear my answer. I find that remarkable.
After he completes my transaction and we come to the end of our brief conversation, he ALWAYS tells me to have a blessed night. Vondell could be having the crappiest day ever, but I would never know it, because his demeanor toward me is always godly. I have no doubt that some days he is the only bright spot in a person’s day. Vondell is doing God’s work and what he does matters a great deal.
I pray for revelation of the eternal value of my work.
Clearly, Vondell has a great attitude, which is what I think the third component is in finding goodness in our work. Admittedly, I don’t always have the positive outlook that I should when it comes to work. Love, joy, peace, and patience are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) When we whine, complain and generally have a bad attitude, we are “walking in the flesh” and not in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV) Our attitude not only dictates our demeanor towards others, but is also the driving force behind our own happiness.
I pray for a way of thinking that is pleasing to God.
I believe that the final piece of the puzzle in finding goodness in work is our perspective. At times, I find myself focusing on the perceived unfairness of certain things, both at work and in life. I was gently reminded today, by God, that the torture and death of His Son, Jesus Christ, was anything but fair. Jesus NEVER sinned. He knew no sin, yet He took upon Himself the punishment of all of the sins of the entire world, past, present and future. Now, THAT’S unfair. But yet, He did it, and He did it willingly, without complaint.
Work, and life, may not always seem fair, but when compared to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, I’m embarrassed about my trivial complaints. If life was fair, we would not have the gift of forgiveness or the assurance of our salvation. In that context, unfair sounds pretty okay to me.
I pray for spiritual perspective.
So, in the everyday drudgery of our jobs, how do we find the goodness that God intended? When you’re walking into your workplace tomorrow…be sure to take Him inside.