Working? Joyfully? Hmm, sometimes those words seem to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. I don’t know about you, but rolling out of bed in the morning and going to the beach, the pool or just “doing my own thing” often seems a lot more appealing than the early shift at work, summer class, or running meticulous errands. But I want to encourage you with this:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people” (Colossians 3:23 TEV).
We are not tirelessly working for the approval of people, or our standing with them. We are working and serving, and putting in long hours for our God. That means that no task is too mundane or medial. God values our faithfulness to things that we must do, and a steadfast dedication to our work. By doing so, we are mirroring a God who is faithful in every season, and our Jesus who came humbly to serve and not be served (Matt. 20:28).
Working joyfully isn’t just a goal that we can set for ourselves to try to achieve, because, gosh if it were in my own strength, I would fail. I grow more tired, less patient, and less kind, the longer the day goes on. One of my favorite verses is Nieamiah 8:10: “The Joy of the Lord is your Strength.” HIS joy is ours! This verse was on my heart almost constantly last summer, as I worked early shifts at a retirement community as a personal care aide. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved spending time with these sweet people everyday – but sometimes the to-do list got long, and I felt my head spin. Running from room to room, I would repeat “the joy of the Lord is your strength” and I was amazed at how the Holy Spirit seemed to calm me in those moments. Once I looked past the stress, I was able to see what a privilege it was to serve meals, be close company, and hear stories and wisdom from each person I got to interact with. We are given the grace to get through each and everyday, no matter what tough circumstances they hold, work related or not. He is the supplier of our joy, and offers us a fresh perpective on our day if we ask him.
Another tough emotion that I think work can bring up is comparison. With society’s constant “better, faster, stronger” attitude, it is so hard to be content and focused on putting in good work when you are constantly looking to the left or right to see where you stand. School work is a prime example of this. But God does not call us worthy if we are a straight “A” student. God doesn’t give us approval if we effortlessly look like we have it all together, or if we have the newest, most cutting edge idea. We have already been justified through our faith in Christ alone.
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16).
Yes, work hard. Yes, strive for greatness in your line of work, but do it for the Lord. If we reframe our mindset everyday when we step out on the field, and search to serve and love others like Jesus, I believe that God will bless that tremendously, and use us in ways that we never could on our own. With His joy in us, we are able to do so much more with our mundane work. Our faithfulness with small things will help us to be faithful in the bigger things that God is calling us to.
We are given the grace to get through each and everyday, no matter what tough circumstances they hold, work related or not. He is the supplier of our joy, and offers us a fresh perpective on our day if we ask him.