January 28, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy The majority of people, according to studies, muddle through the workday with all the enthusiasm of someone watching paint dry. For them, the words “work” and “necessary evil” are synonymous. But is this the way it should be?
Recently I read an article about a fellow named Fred, a grocery store checkout clerk. Buying items at Fred’s lane is a dazzling experience, one many shoppers actually anticipate with great eagerness. Bcause when someone buys groceries at Fred’s cash register, it becomes what some observers have called “show time.”
Adam Holz’s article in Our Daily Bread reports Fred is “amazingly fast, always has a big smile, and even dances (and sometimes sings)! As he acrobatically flips unbreakable purchases into bags.” What sets him apart is the zeal he has for his work. We have all experienced cashiers who barely stifle a yawn as they scan our purchases, but Fred’s contagious joy can transform mundane shopping experiences into a brief adventures.
I have heard of other exceptional workers who have determined to transform ordinary work into a delightful events. The woman at one of our local hospitals comes to mind. She greets cancer patients as they arrive at the door of the clinic, bracing for another doctor’s exam or chemotherapy treatment. With a bright smile and an energetic greeting, the greeter seeks to change a patient’s grim mood into one of optimism and anticipation.
Sadly, such workers are notable because they are so rare. They could methodically carry out their responsibilities and no one would complain. But they have resolved to turn their work into happy experiences, lifting not only their own spirits but also those of everyone they meet. For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, this also should be our goal in the workplace, as these verses point out:
Who are you serving? We should keep in mind that ultimately, it is not a human boss or customer we need to please. “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” (Colossians 3:23).
Who you are representing? Our actions – as well as our attitudes – serve as a reflection of God, whose desire is to work in us and through us. If we are to attract others to Him, they should find something attractive in us as well. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Why you are working? Wise King Solomon used his wealth and power to sample everything life had to offer. This was his conclusion: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the Lord” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were as eager to work with us as they are to pass through Fred’s checkout lane?
© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
- Have you ever observed someone who was a joy to watch because he or she seemed to find so much enjoyment in their work? If so, describe that experience.
- Why do you think so many people view their work as “necessary evil” or drudgery? Is this the perspective you have toward your own work? Why or why not?
- How do you think people can change their attitudes toward their jobs, approaching them more as a joy and a privilege than as drudgery, or even agony?
- Which of the Bible passages cited about work stands out the most to you? Why does it seem especially meaningful or challenging?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:11,24, 18:9, 21:5, 22:29; Ecclesiastes 5:18, 12:13-14; Colossians 3:17