Just turned forty, after years of meaningful service to victims of HIV in Africa, she was feeling unfulfilled as a nurse in a state hospital back in her homeland. ‘I’m missing Africa; I feel I am only working for money.’ That’s a perfectly understandable emotional reaction. And probably the majority of the world’s workforce feel the same. So, is there and antidote to this malaise?
Working for him
Paul’s counsel to bonded workers in his day is still relevant:
‘Bond-servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not as for men …’ (Colossians 3:22-23).
While visiting South America in the 1960s during a time when many working class Argentines were turning to Christ, David du Plessis called in one Monday morning at a factory where he guessed many of those would work whom he had seen fervently praising God in church the previous day. When he asked the manager if any Pentecostals worked there, the boss replied with a grin, ‘Sure, they are our best workers and hold all the main positions here. They’re funny people; they believe their God is always watching them. So we don’t need to keep checking on them!’
We should receive the Kingdom of Heaven like young children; and they just love to be watched by their family when they compete in school sports day events or perform in the nativity play even in some minor role. So why not invite the Lord to ‘watch this’ in ‘everything’ you do? By thus renewing your mind you can develop a thought pattern as a loyal subject of King Jesus who delights to please him:
- You need to lose weight? slim for him
- You must cut back on your budget? trim for him
- You want to get fit? gym for him
- Spring cleaning is due? vim for him
- Do everything ‘heartily’, says Paul – brim for him until you overflow. Then listen for the applause of the nail-pierced hands. And remember, it’s quality he desires and not just quantity. Frenetically overdoing one’s ‘duties’ is not spiritual but a disease you could call Marthritis (check the symptoms in Dr Luke’s Home Medicare Manual chapter 10)
- And do it all with a song: hymn for him (see Colossians 3:16-17)
Doing it for them
I know that ‘my Father is the gardener’ par excellence (John 15:1). But I usually find out his will by consulting my wife who is an instinctive gardener. I am not, so she has to point out which of the lovely green ‘ground cover’ actually consists of weeds. Then I set to with gusto to bring a smile to her face. Doing it for ‘one of the least of these my brothers’ is also to do it for him, said Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46, especially verse 40). And how delighted he is when we bless an annoying boss (see Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14, 17-21).