3 Things I've Learned about Work
by Debbie Holloway
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” (John 6:27).
Since I've been old enough to babysit, I've always been working at something, whether a project for school, a part-time restaurant gig, or my current office job. And over the years I’ve come to learn many lessons about work. For example, work can become a joy and a passion if it’s something you truly love and you’re surrounded by like-minded partners. Or, on the other hand, even a job you like can become a drudge if you can’t see eye-to-eye with your co-workers.
As I prepare to celebrate a day off work this upcoming Labor Day, I've been pondering three things that God has been teaching me about work in the past year or so.
1. A Christian never clocks out
It's easy and refreshing to hop in the elevator at 5 p.m. and not worry about work until the next day. But as a follower of Christ, I recognize that I’m called to carry his banner 24/7. When I’m grumpy? Yep. When I’ve been out all day and come home to a messy house? Absolutely. When I'm on Facebook and somehow everything in my feed is making me frustrated and irritable? Even then. Perhaps that's why we call ourselves "soliders" in God's army. Everything's a battle… one we must remember to fight with love and peace!
2. God is the boss, not me
As easy as it is to judge another person's work (or seeming lack-therof) I've had to be reminded a lot lately that it's simply not my job to critique other people's lives. Just as my supervisor has given me tasks to complete, and that's between the two of us – so God has a personal relationship with every single one of us, and he hasn't asked us to poke our noses into each other’s to-do lists. And boy, don’t we all have plenty of thoughts on the matter?
Why do they go to THAT church? Why is that woman constantly panhandling on that same streetcorner? Why doesn't he just get a spine and break off that harmful relationship?
If only I ruled the world. But I don't – and thank God I don't. Someday we’ll all stand before The Boss and our choices will be evaluated. But for now, it’s my job to do MY job, to love people where they’re at, and to remember that life sometimes looks really different inside someone else's shoes.
3. Your work does make a difference
It’s common for me to feel small and powerless. Maybe you feel that way too. But when small people like us put our minds to something, amazing things truly do happen. Even something as small as a smile or a word of encouragement can make all the difference in someone’s day…maybe even in someone’s life. So whether you teach, write, or clean up trash; whether you sit in a cube crunching numbers or you bag groceries – God wants to use your work to not only bless others, but grow you closer to him.
Intersecting Faith and Life: This Labor Day, try reading a few passages about work in the Bible (I've linked to some below). What kind of worker does God want you to be?