How To Enjoy Your Work
We all have tasks we don’t enjoy, but we don’t have to wait to be happy. A 17th century lay brother and a little boy’s mother share secrets on how to enjoy your work.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men
Colossians 3:23 HCSB
I have a full-time corporate job I’m not really fond of. While it pays bills, it’s a grind of resolving complaints from one entitled liar after another. Admittedly, I don’t always work as hard as I should. I’m easily distracted because watching the grass grow is less antagonizing. All I want is for my shift to finish so I can get back to writing to point women to Jesus.
I felt a bit convicted during today’s webinar when Janine explained that everything we do in our ministry should be for the glory of God. Surely my productivity in my job doesn’t give honor to anyone, especially God. It’s at times like this that I’m reminded of another worker who wasn’t crazy about his work, and yet he turned it into a career of love and worship.
Is there a part of your work ethic that is not honoring God? Ask Him to show you an area of your work where you can improve.
When You Don’t Enjoy Your Work
Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in Paris during the 17th century. Through his letters, he left an inspiring legacy. He is remembered for an unparalleled intimacy with God that radiated a magnetic and contagious peace and joy. But his ministry didn’t start out that way.
Brother Lawrence wanted to spend his life at the Father’s feet in prayer, but shortly after he arrived at the monastery, he was assigned to his most dreaded of positions: the kitchen. He disliked everything about kitchen duties, but he had no choice. Prayer time would have to wait until after his shift.
How did he turn a miserable job into a loving, joyful legacy Christians write about centuries after his death?
Writer Nicholas Herman shared Brother Lawrence’s secret in the Christian classic, “The Practice of the Presence of God & the Spiritual Maxims.” When asked how he endured so gladly, Brother Lawrence explained:
So, likewise, in his business in the kitchen (to which he had naturally a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of GOD, and with prayer, upon all occasions, for His grace to do his work well, he had found everything easy, during fifteen years that he had been employed there.Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God & the Spiritual Maxims
My favorite part of the entire book is an endearing picture described in Brother Lawrence’s own words.
I have no pain or difficulty about my state, because I have no will but that of GOD, which I endeavor to accomplish all things, and to which I am so resigned that I would not take up a straw from the ground against His order, or from any other motive than purely that of love to Him.Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God & the Spiritual Maxims
As I read this, I imagine a little boy picking up after himself, and then proudly calling “Look Daddy! I cleaned up for you!”
I remember another, more recent story that shows us how to serve with love. I once read a list of replies from first graders who were asked what love looks like. One boy said that love is when his mother tests his father’s coffee before giving it to him to make sure it’s not too hot.
Don’t you wonder how often she burns her mouth in her gift of love towards her husband?
Consider the area of your work that is not honoring God. How can you give that task to God as a gift of love?
The Secret to Enjoy Your Work
Brother Lawrence and the young boy’s mother teach us that love and happiness aren’t dependent on what you’re doing; they’re powered by why you’re doing it.
Brother Lawrence’s secret to joyful service was simple: Every little task throughout his day, he did it as a gift to God. He shows us that, while we all have tasks we can barely tolerate, but we don’t have to wait until quitting time to be happy and give honor and glory to God.
Brother Lawrence wrote: That we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of GOD, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love for which it is performed.
What does this mean to you in your personal or ministry life?
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Valerie is a wife, mother, blogger, breast cancer survivor, and virtual assistant. After suffering years of debilitating anxiety, she learned that victory over anxiety comes only through surrender to Jesus. Valerie writes to point women to the Jesus as co-director of Candidly Christian, and as a freelance writer and editor. You can learn more about Valerie at ValerieRiese.com
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
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