Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.
— COLOSSIANS 3:23
The majority of people, according to studies, muddle through the workday with all the enthusiasm of someone watching paint dry. For them, the words “work” and “necessary evil” are synonymous. But is this the way it should be?
Recently I read an article about a fellow named Fred, a grocery store checkout clerk. Buying items at Fred’s lane is a dazzling experience, one many shoppers actually anticipate with great eagerness. Because when someone buys groceries at Fred’s cash register, it becomes what some observers have called “show time.”
Adam Holz’s article in Our Daily Bread reports Fred is “amazingly fast, always has a big smile, and even dances (and sometimes sings)! As he acrobatically flips unbreakable purchases into bags.” What sets him apart is the zeal he has for his work. We have all experienced cashiers who barely stifle a yawn as they scan our purchases, but Fred’s contagious joy can transform mundane shopping experiences into a brief adventure.
I have heard of other exceptional workers who have determined to transform ordinary work into a delightful event. The woman at one of our local hospitals comes to mind. She greets cancer patients as they arrive at the door of the clinic, bracing for another doctor’s exam or chemotherapy treatment. With a bright smile and an energetic greeting, the greeter seeks to change a patient’s grim mood into one of optimism and anticipation.
Sadly, such workers are notable because they are so rare. They could methodically carry out their responsibilities and no one would complain. But they have resolved to turn their work into happy experiences, lifting not only their own spirits but also those of everyone they meet. For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, this also should be our goal in the workplace, as these verses point out:
Who are you serving? We should keep in mind that ultimately, it is not a human boss or customer we need to please. “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” (Colossians 3:23).
Who are you representing? Our actions – as well as our attitudes – serve as a reflection of God, whose desire is to work in us and through us. If we are to attract others to Him, they should find something attractive in us as well. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Why are you working? Wise King Solomon used his wealth and power to sample everything life had to offer. This was his conclusion: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the Lord” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
Think and Pray
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were as eager to work with us as they are to pass through Fred’s checkout lane?
Lord, let my attitude today reflect my gratitude to You – for this job, the health to do it, and opportunity to represent You in the process. Let others see in me a reflection of You, and may they be encouraged to live fully in the joy and strength that You provide. Amen.
Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.