BIG Idea: Work hard at whatever you do.
When I landed my first “ministry” job, I had a choice to make. I had just returned from a missionary stint in Africa and got a job as a youth pastor in Mississippi. I was in full-time pursuit of my Master’s degree from seminary. I was engaged to be married to my wife Robin. The pastor at the time told me honestly, “this is a full-time job, but we can only pay you 3/4 time.” Their budget cuts did not allow them to pay a full-time salary. With a starting youth group of close to 100 students, it was definitely a full-time job.
My dilemma: how hard do I work? I’m about to be married, I’m a full-time student, and I’m not being paid full-time. So, should I put in a full week’s work or use the circumstances as an excuse to slack a little bit? Whether we like it or not, we’ve all been in similar situations. Perhaps your job doesn’t satisfy you. Maybe you hate your boss. Maybe this job is merely holding you over until your dream job arrives. Whatever the reason, there’s always a good excuse to slack off, if you just look hard enough.
It was at this time in my life that God brought in a life verse that has shaped my career. Colossians 3:23-24 says this: “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.” This verse left me with little options. If I was going to honor God, then I needed to work hard. It didn’t matter if I didn’t get the pay that I thought I deserved. Ultimately, I worked for God, not for a paycheck.There’s a spiritual truth that many folks discount today because it doesn’t seem spiritual enough: hard work honors God. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a stay-at-home mom. Whatever you’ve been given to do, work at it with all your heart. If you look back at Genesis 1:27-28 and God’s first instruction to man, you’ll discover that work is spiritual. It fulfills one of the basic purposes that God gave mankind. (By the way, God gave us the command to work before we messed everything up in the Fall. So, it’s not a consequence of sin).
The application is simple: work hard at whatever you do. Whatever your lot in life, work hard. Your reward may not be in a paycheck, but it will definitely be in heaven. May the great quote from Martin Luther King Jr. apply to us: “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”
QUESTION: What’s been a job that’s tempted you to give less than your best?