Paul wrote to slaves in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as unto the Lord.”
These slaves had no choice about the kind of work they did every day. They could not take aptitude tests to discover their strengths, nor sit down with career coaches to figure out better job fits. If their masters were demanding, ego-centric, or downright cruel, they had to live with the situation. (Do you think you've got it bad? Really?)
Thankfully, Paul did not write, “You are not alone, my dear friends! Nobody’s work in this world really matters. Not even the tents I make have any lasting value! They all deteriorate in time. Focus only on the next life. Keep the faith.”
On the contrary, Paul’s remarkable words to slaves hold a great key for bringing extraordinary meaning to "ordinary" work. His directive is particularly helpful when our jobs are difficult and painful, or the work we're doing makes us feel like slaves.
If you do car repair work, housecleaning work, or longshoreman’s work, and your work doesn't really seem like “God’s work,” there is something you can do about it, without a change of location: you can make it God’s work.
Make it God’s work? How?
By doing what Paul advised slaves to do: think differently about the work you are currently doing. Specifically, think of doing your work “as unto the Lord.”
This means, if you repair cars, approach your next repair job as though your customer is Christ. Repair the car as though it is Jesus’ car. If you clean houses, clean your next house as though Christ lives there. If you carry wooden beams off a ship all day, carry each beam as though it were to be used by the Lord Himself for some great purpose. (It can’t be as heavy as His cross.)
For many years we have heard the saying, “WWJD: What would Jesus do?” The implication is, “What would Jesus do if He were in my shoes?” I suggest a different question: “WWID: What would I do if Jesus were in my customer’s shoes?” “What would I do if the money I’m managing were Jesus’ dollars?” and, “What would I do if the clothes I’m ironing were to be worn by Christ?”
This is what it means to do our work “as unto the Lord.” Try it for just one hour. Then another. And another.
Again, it starts in our heads.
|Are you feeling like a slave in a "dead-end" job, wishing you were doing something else? Maybe you should make a change, if you can. I don't know. But try a change of mind before you make a change of location--or your clothes.|