How Should We Think About Our Work?
(excerpt from Chapter 7, “Work: How Should I Think about My Work?” The Christian Man [Zondervan, May 2019])
One Friday afternoon, I picked up my car after it had been serviced at the dealership. As I checked out, I asked Christopher, the service representative with whom I’ve built a great rapport over the last three years, “How has your week been going?”
He sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Well, it’s been going.”
I said, “I’m sure it’s challenging, but at least you have a job that will make a difference in the history of the world.”
He didn’t look at me like I was a nut. Actually, he seemed curious, so I continued. “All these people bring their cars to you for service so they can have reliable transportation to go to work where they will earn the money that pays for their groceries, car payments, rent, children’s education, health care, and so much more. You are on the front line to make sure that happens.
“And then there are all the parents who depend on you to make sure their cars work properly so they can safely drive their children to school, sporting events, and after-school activities.
“Imagine for a moment what would happen without you. People’s cars would stop working; they would have no way to get them fixed; they wouldn’t be able to go to work; their children would miss school; they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills—it would be catastrophic.”
Christopher said, “You know, I’ve never thought of it like that. I guess my work really does make a difference!”
I’m certain Christopher already felt like his work was worthwhile. But I also think he gained a fresh perspective about just how important his job is in the bigger scheme of things.
There is no greater feeling than to believe, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing, right here, right now—even if it’s hard.” That’s the big idea for this chapter.
Do you have that feeling? Nothing is more normal than for you to find satisfaction in your work:
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.
And nothing is more excruciating than a job we don’t like.
In this chapter, we’re going to explore where that feeling of satisfaction comes from, how you get it, and what you can do if you don’t have it. We’ve already talked about balance. Now it’s time to thrust ourselves into the hours we do work and free men up to do every task, however menial, as agents of Christ for the glory of God!