I recently wrote about how our culture devalues rest. In fact, I often hear myself being anti-sleep and thinking that rest itself is merely time away from productivity. Nevertheless I believe that some of us, including me from time to time, let the pendulum swing the other way. We work lazily or are half-hearted in our approach to work. We grumble about our job and do the “tongue-in-cheek” rant (that contains a little too much fact) about how terrible our job is. And I think this is just as bad as not taking our rest seriously.
I believe some of this general laziness of work is because of not taking rest seriously and we end up without the ability to work as hard as we should. At the same time, some people have terrible bosses and might want to start looking for work elsewhere, but for the most part, we do not take our work as service to our Lord. The Scriptures say that our work should be done “heartily as to the Lord and not unto men.” Too many people work only for the paycheck. Supporting our family is important, and I am not suggesting we discount the pay, but for our work to only be a means of making money seems like insufficient motivation. Money alone is not a good enough reason for most of us to work.
Most of the people who read this blog live in a country that is so overcome with excess that we consider ourselves in need of assistance from others (and will occupy any space we think will help) even though those same people are in the top 10% of income and possessions worldwide. The entitlement is so great that people get angry if their parents want to do something other than give their money to them. We feel that we need some specific item that can give us instant some gratification. However, looking to money or possessions will never be satisfactory for the fulfillment that work is supposed to give us.
Doubtlessly, we need money and should not work for free, but if you can’t see anything noble in your work, other than the pay, you will eventually neglect much of the task at hand. Even the person who is chronically worried about pay would slack off on issues that do not directly affect one’s pay. This does not lead to an overall quality of work. This isn’t just an ethereal thought process, but I can also give you practical examples. For most of the last 15 years, I have been in a position of hiring people and having a say in how much they get paid. Obviously, those who argue for a higher salary (whether it be a per hour wage or commission split) are wanting to be able to get paid more without putting forth more work. My advice to these people, without fail (and regardless of what my ultimate decision ends up being), is to be less micro-income focused. I always tell these employees, “If you work heartily and make yourself indispensable, not only would I not have a choice but to grant this request, but you would not even need to ask.” I really think if we all took this approach, our work would be more God-honoring.
From a broader standpoint, our culture is inundated with “get rich quick” schemes. Many “experts” will tell you that you can make money without doing any work or putting any money down. Disregarding, for this blog at least, that these things can be illegal, getting money instantly like that can be a curse. I’ve seen articles about this conclusion in the Huffington Post and the Financial Samurai, and a certain 7th grade history teacher used to tell us this. But I think it is easier to see a better way. If we see our work as our service to the Lord, and If we see that everything we do is a reflection of our gratefulness to Him for all from which He has delivered us; then we cannot help but do our work with boundless enthusiasm.
If our boss is a jerk, we realize that we don’t ultimately work for him. If our income is less than we like, we can learn to live off of less. We must realize that no amount of money or no boss situation is worth sacrificing the fact that we have an opportunity, every day, to show what we really are and Whom we really represent. Actually, if I am more honest, we don’t just have that opportunity, but we actually do that. I guess I’m just pointing this fact out, so that I (and those scattered readers) can live aware of such a thing. So that when I feel myself falling into a general work lethargy and I know that I’ve rested as I should, I need to change my paradigm and work my job as if I work for the Lord, because I do. And so do you!