I’ve done quite a few weird jobs in my lifetime. For instance, shortly after getting my driver’s license I spent a day working in a tent-office in the backyard of a plumber that I didn’t know. This 4-man tent was equipped with a manual typewriter and a batter-powered calculator. I don’t remember much other than being sent on an errand to the local drugstore for some plumbing part he needed. He sent me in his car which was a standard – the likes of which I had never seen. The gear shift was on the steering column. I wasn’t bad at driving “four on the floor,” but I might as well have been asked to fly a helicopter. I had no idea what to do with that thing yet I was too embarrassed to ask…I survived that day, but I still have nightmares. Can you believe I did that before the days of cellphones?!?!?
Another odd job had me doing inventory at a wholesale jewelry story. This experience could not be further removed from the plumber-tent-secretary job. It was a great experience.
I walked through the glass doors early on Saturday morning. My friend, the owner of the store, greeted me and introduced me to a few others with whom I would be counting that day. I don’t think that I had thought much about what we would be counting because as I went to my designated area I was overwhelmed. Before me were aisles and aisles, full of stacks and stacks of drawers and drawers filled with bags and bags of…. diamonds. I was stunned and paralyzed. Why in the world would he trust me with such a precious treasure? Still, I was there to do a job, so I needed to get busy! I started with the first bag. 1…2…3…4…
After a few hours the feeling of awe was forgotten. It became a tedious job. Whether it was gold chains or tiny diamonds or big rubies, it didn’t really matter. I was going cross-eyed. I was having to start over too many times as I lost count of the bling. My mind started drifting to what I would eat for dinner or what I might do with my free time next Saturday. What was the score of the game I was missing? How many more aisles, bags and drawers were there, anyway?
As I look back on this job, I can see some parallels in the job I do now. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. There is nothing I would rather do with my life. But I can tend to get weary and lose perspective. You see, I spend my days in the midst of a treasure far greater than the most expensive diamond. I get to work with people. These lives are the most precious and valuable thing on earth. It can be a little overwhelming when that reality hits me. Why do I get this privilege? How in the world could I be trusted with such an important job? Who am I?
The answer is found not in my resume or talents, but in the relationship I have with the Creator of these souls. Just like I had a personal relationship with the owner of the jewelry business, I have a relationship with God. He knows me. He knows what I can and can’t do. More importantly, though, He wants to do His work through me. It’s a glorious mystery, but it is the only reason that I can make any progress in my job. Apart from Him I really can not do it.
At times the job is fun and energizing, but there are also seasons when I get weary. People are messy and demanding. I am self-centered and self-serving. That’s not a good combination. When I lose perspective and when I am not disciplined to rest, I will start to resent the very people I’m called to love and serve. When that starts to happen, it’s a warning sign. I need to step back and re-focus. That happens through rest and through spending time with Jesus. Powering through won’t work. Any work I try to accomplish will actually be counter-productive.
Once I am rested and re-focused, my life is a joy to live yet again.
- Who are the treasured souls around you?
- How can you make a difference in their lives?
- What are the signs you see in your own heart that tell you to step back and regain your perspective?
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. Galatians 6:9-10