This afternoon I was in a meeting at work. It was one of those meetings which had no obvious purpose, but still filled its allotted time. One of those meetings which turned into people, justifiably, moaning about being overworked with no light at the end of the tunnel. One of those meetings which made you want to pick up your things, walk out and never come back.
Then these words came to mind,
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
And I thought, really?! Really, Paul?! You want me to look at this as like working for God? This is pensions admin, not missionary work. I have no time to actually do my job because I spend all my time doing my job (and, somehow, that actually makes sense!). We’re all doing the jobs of three people with questions asked when stuff isn’t done. Within two minutes of arriving I already feel beaten down and running out of time. Everyone is miserable about the standards they’re expected to live up to, but can’t. Several have been off with stress or anxiety. I’m supposed to be dealing with depression in this environment. Yet you think I should see it as if I’m working for the Lord?!
I train people to process applications for pension transfers, I don’t feed the hungry, dress the poor, comfort the grieving, preach to the deaf, heal the sick or do anything remotely worthwhile. How is that like working for God, Paul? How?!
Then, I heard a voice. Not audibly. Not like ‘hearing voices’. More of an impression of a voice, pushing through the self pitying ranting of my mind.
I know the voice.
I should do, He is always trying to say something. I’m just not always ready or willing to listen.
I can hear Him now, though.
“Give Paul a break. He’s right. He knows what he’s talking about. I told him to say it!
You think this is tough? You think this is pressure? You have a job. A regular income, bills paid, food on the table, a roof over your head.
Think of the unemployed, scrabbling around on small change in homes where the landlord won’t fix the boiler or Windows, but still charges the earth in rent for it.
Think of those who have final demands piling up on the doormat. Scared of every knock at the door or ring on the phone in case it brings homelessness.
Think of those starving, scared and alone in Syria, Somalia, North Korea or many other places where poverty, war, oppression or all three are a daily prescence.
Think of those who are persecuted because of their faith in Me. You have freedom to worship, meet others in My name, write a blog proclaiming your faith. Others have to meet in secret, in fear of their lives if they are even seen with a Bible.
And you think middle-class, first-world problems are tough?
You have a wife and family who love you.
You have a nice home.
You have a job where you have the responsibility for developing others. Helping them to build skills and knowledge. Helping them to realise their own potential, to turn around faltering careers, to mentor new staff, to be the best they can be at their jobs. To help make their Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 existences as rewarding as they can be.
How is that not My work?”
And He’s right. Of course He is. When isn’t He?
So, I will. I’ll work with all my heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Because that’s exactly what I’m doing. We all are. We just need to listen and find out how.