The more people I encounter the more I realize that there is a huge segment of the working world, even the Christian working world, that is in a sort of daily funk. Many of us drag ourselves into work each day wondering if what we do really matters, if anyone cares, or if there is any bright future to look forward to. It is a feeling with which I can empathize because I have been there. But I have discovered three key trains of thought that have helped me to keep my chin up and my focus clear. I want to share them with you here:
1. Remember who you serve
One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Colossians 3:23-24, which says,
Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
In the daily rush of life it is easy to lose site of the fact that no matter what we do or who we do it for, it is ultimately the Lord we are serving. We work because he has given it to human beings to do work. It is part of our purpose. It is part of our design. We are fulfilling our God-given purpose when we do work. Our work, no matter what it is, is useful to God in ways we cannot even begin to imagine, and a it is probably so in ways we will never know this side of eternity, which leads directly to the next key train of thought...
2. Imagine the big picture
We all want to matter. We all want to make a difference. As Christians, we all want to do something that matters to God. It's easy to fall into a routine of work where you have a job to do, a customer to serve, and a series of tasks to accomplish. When I have found myself stuck in the mundane routines of my work, wondering if any of it matters or if anyone cares, it has helped me to try to think about all the possible implications of my work and how God can use that for his purposes.
When I was paving parking lots for twelve to fourteen hours a day, it helped me to remember that it was not just about laying blacktop. Ambulances would use that parking lot to rush the injured to life saving care.
When I worked in mining, I was not just blasting rocks to make the granules that get glued to shingles. I was part of a team that was making a product that could eventually be part of roof over a pastor's head, or a school, or a temporary shelter in a storm ravaged area.
When I drove a tractor trailer, I was not just hauling crayons to a big box store warehouse. I was hauling products that would supply some of the contents of charitable packages put together by volunteers serving their communities in the name of Jesus.
Today, working in the regulatory environment, I am not just working with regulations that exist for no purpose. I am helping to protect the public, people loved by God, from the dangers of certain ultra-hazardous activities necessarily being performed as a part of construction, demolition, and mining projects.
Perspective is everything, and when you take time to think about how the things you do each day matter to God and can be used by him to put all the little pieces in place to accomplish things he wants to see accomplished in our world, it changes how you feel about yourself and the work you do. Nothing is a menial task.
3. Remember who you represent
Everything we say and do says something to the watching world about God, the church, Christians, and whether or not we really believe the things we say we believe. We intuitively understand that to be true of the language we use, our honesty, and how well we work, but those are the obvious ones. But, it is also true with regard to letting people see why we live with a sense of purpose, work hard, and strive for honesty and integrity. That we have a hopeful big picture perspective can be a powerful witness for Christ, so let it shine through and become an obvious part of who you are. Let your work be your ministry!
I know it isn't easy to get up everyday and go to work. We all face on-the-job stresses, we all fight those battles within our own minds, and we all have our own personal frustrations and difficulties to deal with. None of us is immune to effects of those things. But in the midst of it we can shine before the world and abide personally in a sense of purpose and meaning.