Colossians 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
"A doctor who diagnoses himself has a fool for a patient," so goes the old saying. For many, part of the American dream involves "calling our own shots," being our own boss. Splendid as this sounds, it can be fraught with hardships, as we are not always skilled at managing ourselves. In fact, the person who strives toward being her own boss might find she has a fool for an employee.
Work is one of those universal puzzles which we must put together well if we want a chance at a happy life. Upon being introduced to someone, we usually ask something like, "What do you do for a living?" I've never heard anyone reply, "Oh, I do crossword puzzles," or "I play croquet." We may indeed play croquet, but that's not what the questioner meant.
God created humans as whole beings. One aspect of that wholeness is our need and ability to work. God put Adam on the job before the Fall. Work appears to be one of the pleasures built into paradise. Our Father wanted us to be useful and productive for our own happiness and personal satisfaction, as well as for His glory.
In Eden, Adam working for God seemed like a good arrangement. But Adam decided to be his own boss. And ever since, sin has stained the pleasure of work, along with the other glories of paradise.
As you probably know from experience, we sometimes must invent ways of coping with boredom and frustration in our work. We may suffer from job burnout. It's a hazard with occupations. An electrical engineering friend of mine theorizes that people should change jobs once every five years or so. He's done just that in his career. Another friend left teaching to become a nurse.
Changes like these can be right or wrong, successful or disastrous, and sometimes it takes a radical shift in our lives to get to where we need to be. Whether were building bridges or selling sandwiches or teaching trigonometry, the issue at the end of the day is perhaps less "Who's boss?" but "Who's really in charge?
If you're struggling with your job for whatever reason, you might try an experiment like this. Before your workday begins, pray through it. Ask for the Spirit's presence in your day. Ask God's blessings upon your coworkers and managers. Pray for your customers, your clients, and all the people with whom you have appointments and meetings. Pray for your work to be a blessing to others. Give your day to Christ.
Then go to work, trusting in God, remembering the words of another who gave his work over to his Lord and Savior. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You know our hearts and the anxieties we have. Calm us by Your Spirit to see the work we do and the people we serve as blessed opportunities to glorify You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, June 1979 issue, "Suffering from Burnout," by Jane Fryar
1. Do you like to work by yourself, or are you more of a collaborative person?
2. Do you sense a different kind of energy when you are doing something that is God- or faith-related?
3. Have you had to make any radical employment decisions regarding your career?
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