Your Work Serves As Your Witness
Updated: Aug 12
During my teenage years at the age of 15, I held a job at a sandwich shop for a couple of months that one of my relatives owned. My aspirations were straightforward as most any teenager - to earn some pocket money while savoring the allure of free sandwiches and pop.
Anticipating a breeze in the job due to my family connection with the owner, little did I realize that the insights I gained during those hours meticulously crafting sandwiches would take root and flourish in my life even after several decades.
Amid the hustle, one remarkable individual etched herself into my memory - Michelle, one of the managers in her 30s. Michelle's work ethic was a symphony of diligence and integrity, encompassing even the most unglamorous tasks that many would shun. A magnetic pull drew me towards her. I sought to emulate her example, hanging onto her every word and cherishing our conversations.
But life has its unexpected twists. Michelle regard for me wasn't what I had hoped. She chose to be candid, a new friend bold enough to reveal truths that stung. In the midst of one of our discussions, she uttered a sentence that would resonate long after - “You have terrible work ethic.” Her words, devoid of resentment, laid bare my tendency to approach tasks half-heartedly. She imparted the insight that my shortcomings weren't rooted in incapability, but in my own choices.
Her words cut deep. I struggled to grasp any redeeming qualities to offset this glaring character flaw pointed out. Yet, Michelle's assessment echoed an undeniable truth - I could have executed even mundane tasks with greater diligence than I was. I had passively hoped to ride the tide of mediocrity and still reap rewards. However, I couldn't ignore the inescapable reality - when I was the customer, I too craved excellence and dedication in service.
Michelle's candor marked a major turning point. Her hard truth rewired my perspective, igniting a newfound reverence for the significance of my approach towards buckling down and applying myself to tasks.
Proverbs 27:6 (also: Proverbs 27:6 KJV) - “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Her kindness was unmasked through her honest guidance, a testament to her commitment to my growth.
Reflecting on our shared experiences, I realize how common apathy, laziness, and bad customer service are in the world around us. I recall several occasions when a cashier's dim remark mirrored a spirit worn down by their job. We frequently lack the willingness to invest totally.
Work is not a result of the Fall - it is a divine gift meant to bring us fulfillment. We were created to produce, grow, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. However, the shadow of iniquity has contaminated this, causing us to seek the rewards but not the effort. We want benefits without having to make a significant investment.
Tommy Newberry's words in "Success is Not An Accident" encapsulate this sentiment - “Many Americans have been misled into believing they will not be held accountable for their choices and that they will miraculously harvest something other than what they planted.” The inclination to reap where we haven't sown is a temptation we've all faced. Galatians 6:7 amplifies this reality—“A man reaps what he sows.”
Today is your beginning point. The work ahead of you, as well as the encounters that await you, all have the potential for brilliance. Accept your tasks with uncompromising dedication. Your efforts will not be overlooked. As God's disciples, we have been given the mantle of the utmost, displaying God's love through our attitudes and actions.
Here's a blueprint to recalibrate your purpose in the realm of work: Arrange your tasks in alignment with God's guidance, understanding that not every duty warrants your full attention and effort. Resist the temptation of grumbling. Strive to select words that elevate and motivate, crafting an atmosphere of authenticity. Invest your passion into every endeavor. Reject shortcuts and indolence, committing yourself wholeheartedly to the present instant. Timeliness and dedication are essential principles. Uphold your obligations and extend a helping hand when necessary. Approach others with the same kindness and regard you seek. Offer the same compassion, consideration, and excellence that you wish to encounter (even if you do not receive it back).
Our approach to work unveils our heart. It becomes a canvas for expressing God's love, a beacon of hope amidst the mundane. The race is on - run with passion, care about others, and let our every endeavor echo God's redeeming grace. Be well!