Archive for October, 2010

Work, Work, Work! Does it ever end?

Work, work, work! Does it ever end? Probably not.

Eight to five. Five days a week. 40+ hour work week. Overtime and the lack thereof. Back to work on Monday. I’m sure glad it’s Friday. The boss is away, the mice will play. Performance reviews. Hourly pay. Salaries. Raises and bonuses and the lack thereof. Can you think of a few other work-related terms?

If a guy views his work only with terms and phrases like those or as a way only to get money to pay bills, he is certainly set to have a long, drudgery of a working life. There really seems like there should be more to work and career than just the routine or to simply draw a paycheck.

Back in the day, many of our fathers had what were called “jobs”. The mentality, as we grew up in the homes of our fathers, was to go to school and gain knowledge. From there it was expected we would get a job. Period. Certainly that approach kept the cycle of family provision going from generation to generation. Some of us were encouraged to go to college and many of us did. Little discussion occurred relative to pursing a career, a relatively new term for the previous generation.

Today much has been written about the value of our work. Everyone from blue to white collar workers is encouraged to view their work, their jobs, as careers. Frankly, this shift in mentality has been good for the self-esteem of many men who previously saw little value in their work.

This plays well into the way Scripture encourages us to view our work. After all, if you are to work as unto the Lord, why not view that work as of high value? Unfortunately, our culture’s view of work negatively affects many people’s perspective of the value of their job.

If you do the night shift at McDonalds or you are a janitor or “non-skill” laborer, or maybe a blue collar guy who has to jump every time the white collar guy says to, you are stereotyped. Our culture says you’re not as valuable as guys like bankers, lawyers (well, maybe not lawyers), stock brokers, and businessmen/entrepreneurs. That is unfortunate but is the lay of the land.

I find it more encouraging to examine the way God views our work. It started with Adam before the fall when God put him in the garden and told him to work it and take care of it. Work began to be the way we could support our families and frankly, serve them. Work became a good thing. Serving others became a very good thing.

We watched men throughout the Old and New Testaments give themselves wholeheartedly to their careers. Kings, prophets, fisherman, doctors, scribes, and tentmakers all doing their best in their careers to serve God.

Think of it this way. What if on Monday morning you walked into the plant, shop, office, etc. with the mindset that, along with doing the “job” required of you, your life could have an impact on those around you? Many of those at your place of work are clueless about God. You, however, are a real person with a life and a hard work ethic. You need to have one of these. You should never underestimate the value of your presence at your place of work.

Here are a few thoughts for you consideration in serving others in your work, job, and career.

  • Pray for those in your sphere of influence at work.
  • Seek ways to serve those in your sphere of influence.
  • Don’t be like everyone else at work. If there are takers around you, be a giver. · Speak well of those in authority over you.
  • Speak well of your co-workers. Never gossip.
  • Model Biblical servanthood.
  • Watch for hurt, disappointment, or pain in the lives of your co-workers. It is all around you more than you think.
  • Do what was spoken so well by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

When you begin to see your employment in this light, and you apply the thoughts listed above, you will begin to see what has been given to you in your career as of unbelievably high value.

What’s in a career? For starters, it is serving others. It is allowing God to use you to touch co-workers for Him. I don’t know about you, but when I have a chance to partner with the God of the universe to this end, my work catapults in value in my mind. I hope it does in yours, as well. I pray with you to that end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dick Hardy is the Founder and President of The Hardy Group, an Executive Consulting firm for senior pastors. Dick brings a wealth of experience to the table for pastors when dealing with the tough issues of the church relative to growth, organization, leadership, administration, and change. His service as administrative pastor at two mega churches and vice president at a flagship denominational Bible college makes him a resource your church will want to retain.

Copyright © 2008 by Dick Hardy. Permission is granted for the free redistribution of this article.