Going to Work on Purpose
“Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
My dad was elated when he discovered the newly built Ford Glass Plant was finally accepting applications. Just married, he and my mom lived with my grandparents in a cramped space in their tiny home. While they dreamed of a place of their own, finding a job to pay rent hadn’t been easy. Dad aspired to work, but nothing panned out. Determined not to give up, he applied at the Glass Plant.
Every day, he called the factory to see if they’d reviewed his application. And every day he got the same speech.
“Son, we can only hire 10 people at a time, and we take those 10 from the top of the pile. You’ll have to wait your turn,” explained the clerical staff on the other end of the phone.
Frustrated, Dad realized his phone calls were getting him nowhere. He decided to visit them in person instead. Soon this young man with brown eyes, a head full of dark curls, and tenacity became a familiar face around the factory.
Then, one day it happened.
The general manager thumbed through the bottom of the stack of submissions, pulled out an applicant and handed it to his assistant.
“Hire this guy,” said the GM. “He wants to work more than anyone else I’ve ever met.” That guy was my dad.
Dad went to the factory each day with purpose in mind — to show himself a representative of the Lord, who was willing to work hard and get the job done. He was eager to serve this company. This not only pleased the general manager, it also pleased the Lord.
Most people spend the majority of their lives at work performing a joyless job without any purpose other than earning a paycheck. They allow themselves to get worn down in the drudgery of day-to-day labor. Always jealous of the co-worker who’s on vacation, they have no vision. Instead, they believe the lie that “happiness is doing something they love.” Maybe. But even then, doing what you love requires a lot of labor.
Selfishly, I tend to have the wrong view about working — whether it’s cleaning the house or volunteering at my child’s school. I have to remind myself the purpose is not about serving myself, but serving God and others. There’s a higher purpose to my labor. It’s to make Jesus known and reflect His character in the workplace.
What if we went to work with a different attitude? What if we didn’t leave Jesus in the car and instead took Him inside the office? What if we got serious about our key verse? “Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).
- We wouldn’t view work as punishment from God. Work is meant to give us purpose, fulfillment and provision. Without God’s provision, we’d struggle to eat, clothe ourselves or care for others in need.
- We would be a faithful worker who did their job when the boss isn’t looking. Besides, Jesus is our real boss. Work to please Him, and we will serve both authorities well.
- We would resemble God — our model-worker. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Our labor must have some intrinsic value if God modeled it for us. I believe the value is in the representation of Him when we follow His example.
How we view our work makes all the difference in how we represent God and draw others to Him. When our purpose is for God — for our joy in Him — we find a treasure greater than money, recognition or comfort. We develop a heart of gratitude for our job and find a purpose that satisfies, even if it’s not our dream job.
Dear God, help me see work not as a drudgery, but as Your creation designed to give me purpose, fulfillment and a way to introduce others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 90:17, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.” (NIV)
Proverbs 12:11, “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” (NIV)
Whatever your assignment is today, you’ll discover that every calling is magnificent because it comes from the Magnificent One. In the most recent episode of The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast, speaker and author Whitney Capps teaches on her struggle of making ministry "me-nistry." Check out this episode on your podcast mobile app or click here to learn more.
When you need to find joy in the workplace or in dark days, you’ll appreciate Tracie Miles’ newest release, Love Life Again.
Visit Micca Campbell’s website for more tips on finding joy in everyday life and your chance to win a copy of Love Life Again by Tracie Miles.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Labor Day is about more than grilling hotdogs. It was created to give hardworking Americans a day off to rest and celebrate their contributions and achievements. This week, spend time observing your accomplishments, thinking of ways you can serve others. You’ll return to work refreshed and with a new purpose.
Think of someone whose work (either paid or volunteer) has inspired you to do a better job serving others. Then tell us about it in the comments section.