The first home my wife and I purchased together was a home we built brand new.
Once a week while the home was being built I would go by in the morning on my way to work and drop off coffee and donuts for the construction workers. On my way home in the evening once a week I would drop off cold water. I did this one, to be kind, but two, I heard happy workers build solid homes. I catered the guys as our first home was built with zero issues.
Danny, one of the construction workers, loved digging in the dirt. He treasured the purpose his work gave him of giving people a safe home. He honestly loved what he did for work and looked forward to it.
I think God wants that for everyone. Whether it’s a kid hitting a ball, a student studying, a parent loving on kids, an adult with a career, a retired person living life to the fullest each day, God wants us to love what we do.
Do you ever stop to think about the chairs you sit in, like the one you’re in right now? Do you ever relax and wonder, Who made this so I could sit here? Or maybe you stare at the soap you hopefully used in the shower the past 24 hours or so, or the coffee maker you used this morning, all of these simple things, and wonder who made these so we can proceed with our day? What makes this world really, so mind-blowing amazing is that all of the work we do, it’s all interconnected.
We are inter-dependent. It’s ironic that we live our lives in such privacy and pride like we don’t need people, we don’t ask for help or lean on others, but we live every day knowing that we can’t survive without others.
An author named Lester Dekoster writes, “Imagine that everyone quits working, right now! What happens? Civilized life quickly melts away. Food vanishes from the shelves, gas dries up at the pumps, streets are no longer patrolled, communication and transportation services end, utilities go dead. Those who survive at all are soon huddled around campfires, sleeping in caves, clothed in raw animal hides.”
And then Dekoster writes, The difference between a cave and a culture is work. There may be no better way to love your neighbor, whether you are writing parking tickets, software, or books, than to simply do your work.”
You need to know, however old you are, whatever your tasks are for the day: Your work matters. Whether you are an employee, employer, unemployed, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a student, someone who’s retired, someone chasing a dream, your work matters.
Princeton University did a study on occupational happiness and they discovered that 82% of American workers hate Mondays because they hate their job. Other stats they found that most suicide attempts in our country take place on a Monday. Most heart attacks in our country happen on a Monday.
Most people don’t like Mondays because they don’t like what awaits them at work or what awaits them at school or what awaits them for the week.
How do we go from, Take this job and shove it, to, Take this job and love it?
On the Saturday mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed, or I’d rather go to the pool with my friends, or I didn’t feel that well, my dad would repeat this phase over and over: Your workplace is your worship space. And then he’d say – It’s time to go worship, Z. And I’d go to school with a better attitude or I’d clean my room or go to my part time job with a better attitude. My worship was my workspace. It comes from a verse in the book of Colossians,
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. [Colossians 3:23]
Your workplace is your worship space.
The reality of it is 40% of your life will be in the workplace. 15% of your life will be or was in the classroom (and stay at home parents probably feel like their life is 110% working), so it would make sense that we would learn not just that we should work, but how we should work, as Christians, so each day doesn’t feel like a Monday.
C.S. Lewis said it this way, “The man who is weeding a field of turnips is worshiping God.”
The most menial task Lewis could think of in his era, weeding turnips, it can be turned into the most meaningful thing people can do, which is worship, if Jesus is invited into it.
You’ve been at a fast-food restaurant (not named Chick-fil-A) where the teenager behind the counter is lethargic and unmotivated. They don’t have a high purpose for what they view is a very low position. They don’t see their work as an act of worship. It takes everything within them just to ask, Do you want anything else with that?.
It’s a challenge to ask a teenager who is flipping burgers for minimum wage to see their menial task as a meaningful task, until, in their mind and heart they are going to commit to showing up to work promptly, working hard and cheerfully, with gratitude and integrity, not because they’re getting a paycheck or trying to look better than other coworkers to impress their superior, but because work is an act of worship to God.
We should wake up each morning and place our day before God with this prayer of, God, I want this day to be a day I live for You and serve others. I want my work to be worship today.
Even if my boss is moody, God, today is Your day.
Even if my children are whiney or hurtful, today is Your day, God.
Even if my physical ailment is painful, today is Your day, God.
Even if my expectations for the day aren’t met, even if my to-do list isn’t done, even if others attack me, even if my co-workers or classmates are incompetent and lazy, even if the people around me during the week just complain and gossip, I declare that my workplace is going to be my worship space.
Christians should be the best employees, the best bosses, the best students, the best retired citizens, the best parents our culture sees. But if we’re flippant or selfish about it, it will not give God any glory, it will not bring any satisfaction, they’ll be no worship.
Personally, I think talent is over-rated and hard work is underrated. I would take a humble, team-oriented hard worker on my team any day over an isolated, talented person who thinks they’re pretty amazing and mails it in at work.
Your career is what you get paid for. Your calling is what you were made for.
We are so much more than our jobs and our responsibilities.
There are police officers who do more than write tickets. There are pharmacists who do more than fill prescriptions. There are barbers who do more than cut hair. There are salesman who do more than make deals. There are stay at home parents who do more than pick up messes. There are empty-nesters who do more than just travel. There are those of the next generation who do more than just hold their phone. There are cooks who do more than feed others. There are bosses who are concerned with more things than the bottom line.
There’s a woman named Linda Wilson-Allen, a bus driver for public transportation in the city of San Francisco. She loves the people who ride on her bus and she proves a love for them by learning and remembering their names, by knowing which stop they are on, by listening to their day, she waits for them if they’re running a bit late.
A reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle rides her bus every day and he wrote a front page news article about Linda. She writes,
“Linda has built such a little community of blessing on that bus that passengers on the bus offer Linda the use of their vacation homes. They bring her potted plants and floral bouquets. When people found out she likes to wear scarves to accessorize her uniform, they started giving them as presents to Linda. At the end of her line she tells her passengers, “That’s all. I love you. Take care.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
When’s the last time you heard a fast food worker, an Uber driver, a barista, a grocery store clerk tell you they love you?
Think about what an ungrateful task it is to be a bus driver in a city? Cranky, tired passengers. Engine problems. Difficult left turns. Traffic jams. Gum on the seats. Long hours, low pay. How in the world can Ms. Linda have a joyful attitude with the job she has?
Here’s her secret. She says,“My mood is set at 2:30AM when I get down on my knees to pray for 30 minutes. There is a lot to talk about with the Lord.”
Let’s not just do our tasks, let’s do our tasks with excellence. Not to be noticed but to help people. Get pumped today about being the person that helps people.
Let’s go get it this week. You are loved.