I printed out my calendar for work on Monday. A color coded rainbow of where I need to be and who I need to meet with. Looks daunting. Should I dread it? Is work bad? Is it the necessary evil we make it out to be? Just a decades long drudgery until we can retire?
Now I’m not advocating you become a workaholic. Been there, done that, and felt the personal consequences. I am not advocating you become a cream puff either. I am advocating we look at the work we do differently.
1. Stop looking at the work and start looking at the people. What if you were rated/judged/compensated by how you treat and respond to the people around you? Your work is a unique place, your unique opportunity, to serve God by loving those in your path. And his rating system is more important than your boss’s.
2. God worked and so did Adam, before anybody ate any apples. Work existed before sin entered the world, which means work is not evil. It’s how you approach it that matters. God created. He made. He finished what he started. Adam and Eve took care of the garden. What can you create, make, take care of?
3. Don’t retire from life. The goal and purpose of this life is not to reach the pinnacle by becoming a cream puff on a couch. Yes rest. God rested. (For a day) Jesus was a carpenter for a long time before he became a preacher. And he did so much more in the years after carpentry than he did during. Again I’m not advocating you fill your calendar and run yourself crazy, declaring your busyness like a badge of honor (it’s not). Look at the responsibilities in front of you as opportunities to show people what love looks like. That doesn’t stop when the work day is over, or the last day you walk out of your place of employment. You work for God.
So often we hear phrases like work/life balance. As if there is this imaginary scale that shouldn’t be too heavy on either side. But what if it’s supposed to be simpler than that? What if it’s not a scale, but instead life is a big bowl of chili (go with me on this one). Some of us have more of certain ingredients than others. Some have more family, more work, more kids, more trauma, more disease, more money, more debt, more coffee…
But whatever you do… whatever “chili” you have… Use it. Share it. (Add some spices)
Whatever you have, whatever you do, (your jobs and work fall into the category of whatever) focus on the people involved and help them.
When you do that, your work honors God. And that’s when you become grateful. And when you are grateful, joy follows in quick succession.