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One Sunday during the Children’s sermon I found a great way to illustrate that we shouldn’t judge things by how they look on the outside. I had a terrible office chair that looked great and cost a couple hundred dollars, but within 30 minutes could ruin your back. I had a $30 office chair that I used all the time, which never hurt my back. I showed both to the children, and asked which chair was better. All but one picked the fancy chair. I asked her why she hesitated to pick the fancy chair and she said, “Well, the better chair is the one that will spin the most. We need to test for spinning ability.” I never thought of that response in preparing for this Children’s Sermon.
I love my job. Perhaps you are thinking that of course I should, but I know ministers that don’t. I would like to suggest to you that God desires all of us to love our jobs. Consider some of these thoughts about our work. Most people define themselves by what they do. According to Psychology Today, “One’s career is probably the most important influence on one’s perceptions of quality of life.” If you are in the work place you will spend more time there than anywhere else, 60-65% of time, as compared to 30-35% with family and personal interests, and 0-10% in church and spiritual interests. Gallop polls indicate that 80% of us feel miscast in our jobs.
I invite you to read the words of Colossians 3:23-24 with your job in mind as you read them. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Does that put your career in a different light? If you believe that God has a plan for your life, and work plays such a big role in our lives, then doesn’t it make sense God has a plan for our work lives that will bring the greatest joy, meaning, and purpose to our lives?
Consider some of the following thoughts. All Work is a calling from God, and therefore your work has divine value. Therefore, God holds you responsible for what you do and say in the work place. If we look at our work as working for God then we will have higher ethical standards, give our work our best effort, work with enthusiasm, and strive for excellence. When we do our work for God we open the doors for God to reward us through our work in ways we can never imagine. Those rewards can bring us great joy through our work.
For years Pastor MacDonald rode the same bus daily from his home to his church in New York City. One day the bus driver complained to MacDonald, “You’ve got it a lot better than me. You have an interesting job and travel different places. I just drive this bus up and down the same streets every day.”
MacDonald told the bus driver his job could be a Christian ministry too. “Every day, when you first get on this bus, before anyone else gets on, dedicate this bus to God for that day. Declare it to be a sanctuary for God for that day. Consecrate it to God’s glory, and then act like it is a place where God dwells.” Several weeks later MacDonald returned from a trip and saw the bus driver. “You’ve transformed my life,” the man said. “I’ve been doing what you said every day, and it has made me see my job in an entirely new perspective.”
Is there one right job for you? Are you in that job now? How can you find out what God’s plan is for you in your career? Do you have the right job, but the wrong focus? Can you find new ways to let God be part of your work day? How would it change your attitude if you dedicated your work day to the Lord? How would it change your workplace? All work is a calling from God. Just like I am called to be a minister, you are called to serve the Lord through your work.
Al Earley is pastor of La Grange Presbyterian Church. To read previous articles visit, www.LaGrangePres.org. The views in this column are those of the writer.