Editor’s note: My mom used to quote the Bible with regards to work, “Do your work as unto the Lord, not men.” I’m reminded of that when I read this note, and it continues to be good advice, even if hard to do.
First, a thought or two about the weekly (daily) grind, prompted by the lament of the dullness of life (when looked at in terms of what you spend most of your waking hours doing), the difficulty of “Monday” (which is proverbial, of course) and brevity of Sunday or the weekend.
It all points up the importance of landing eventually in a life calling (or different ones) in which all that stuff is minimized (every job has some of it) because you like the work, you “grow”in it; you can put yourself into it because you are fit for it and can express your unique gifts in it, etc. Obviously, it’s different work for different people. I would hate “selling”. Some people love it, and look forward to Monday AM in order to get back at it. Artists and such will work around the clock for the same reason; starve at poor paying jobs on account it’s so much fun, etc.
Trouble is, most people get into the wrong jobs for the wrong reason; either for money or prestige (money can be in either white-collar or sweat-shop jobs) or in envy and admiration of the guy who enjoys his, or seemingly so. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, like Tom Sawyer and his fence.
Then too, even though a job may take most of your waking work-day hours, it also provides the means by which you can do fun things during the off-hours – fuel a car, go to movies, buy clothes, etc. All of which would not be half the fun and enjoyment if you didn’t work for them. Ask the couples who can do nothing but travel, for example, and NEVER have to get up in the morning. Bored silly. Vacations are fun just because they are vacation; as a steady diet, it becomes as boring as a job at Disney World, with their vapid voices and false smiles. The whole thing is false, of course. That is not real life. Only real horses make manure for somebody to sweep up – to put on our strawberry plants!
But more than this, a chap ought not to work just enough to satisfy his own needs of food, car, vacation, clothes, etc. Guys who do that (like people who don’t show up for work or retire in mid-life) are hardly to be envied, and aren’t. They get introverted, crabbed, selfish.
The Bible says in one place we ought to work in order to help others, which gives a person real satisfaction and pleasure. Otherwise why get married, which adds only to one’s obligations and need to work. And, as Christians, we take from our earnings to maintain God’s work in all parts of the world. Just think what you are doing by means of that sweaty work at painting, driving a truck, or whatever your vocation; it is exactly the same as if you went in person, yourself, and did an equivalent amount of work helping that ministry. When someone is on the mission field, whether building a church or teaching school or practicing medicine, very literally it is just as if you were doing those things, despite any disparagement of ones abilities to thread pipes or build something. Carpenters don’t know how to make hammers (forged in steel-mills) and MDs do not know how to make the medicines they dispense. The work they “do” is made possible by somebody else, and God sees and knows it all, coordinates it all.
So, if somebody were to ask you (and they literally do – the dumbies – “Whadda ya doing?” – as you obviously pile lumber or paint the school) you could say, “Me? I’m making sick kids well in South America or Africa; I’m building a church in Haiti.” By means of your money – which means, your work! You are a very literal missionary without having to leave the USA; you have done dozens of things that have to be done and which you couldn’t do personally, whatever the reason.