Tuesday Re-mix –
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Col. 3:23-24
My dear friend, Dr. Ann Farris, taught me that in this world there are 4 kinds of people: those who ask “What?”, those who ask “How?”, those who ask “Why?” and those who don’t ask any questions but just like to party. Every good task force or team needs each of these types of people. I so get that! Of all the different “temperament” and personality profile studies I have done and seen (isn’t it shocking how many very bright people over the centuries have devoted themselves to dividing humanity into four categories?) this one may be my favorite. I like it because it explains so much. And I like explanations…
…because I am definitely a “Why?” person.
In every job, with every assignment, even in every game I play, I just need to understand the “why”. If I don’t, then I’m not very useful, not very effective. Motivation is everything to me. That is true in my work with churches (I really do insist that the church understand WHY each of its ministries exists) and it is true in my individual life as well. Life is just too busy to engage in activities with no purpose at all.
And so it is with our work. Having a strong work ethic has everything to do with having a grasp of WHY we do it in the first place. If the best reason you can muster for showing up at work everyday is “to collect a paycheck” (and by the way, I strongly suspect this is true of the majority of America’s work force), then your effectiveness will never rise above a very lukewarm average. You will never lead far, you will never achieve much, and you will certainly never “wow” anyone with your Christian testimony.
I believe God has called me to do what I do at work (lawyer, writer, mediator, church consultant, etc.). Moreover, I believe that calling is every bit as “holy” as God’s calling to any member of the clergy. If you’re at all familiar with my view of church, you know that I do not believe in two classes of Christians–the professional ones and the rest of us. So my motivation for work, my answer to “why?”, is simple: “in order to glorify God and to honor His calling on my life.” God has given me a ministry…at my work. I am a minister…in the law office.
I don’t know how that motive hits you, but for me, it puts to rest an awful lot of distractions and pesky questions about purposes in life and getting out of bed each morning. It is exactly what I need–nothing more and nothing less–to provide my motivation at work. When I don’t feel like dictating another deposition report or listening to another church member whine and complain about their pastor or write another blog post, I have all the motivation I need in Colossians 3:23-24.
What about you? Do you have a clear sense of God’s calling to your work? Do you do it with all your heart, as unto the Lord?
© Blake Coffee
One response to “Do You Know Why You Work?”
First – I have seen several versions of the corporate and institutional personality type evaluators. Some group people as colors, some as animals, some as number combinations, etc. I like Dr. Farris’!
Second – your subject today has special meaning for me today for three reasons:
– I find I frequently need to hear that it is not that there are the professional Christians to carry out ministry and then there are the rest of us. Usually as a layperson I feel so ineffective.
– It has not been very many years since I have had my eyes opened to the value of the passage, “work as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23). It has made a great difference in my life and has been the happiest motivator for me.
– Your observation of the “busy-ness” of life has been troubling me of recent months. A day seems to be only 3 hours or so in length. I am happy and thankful for what the Lord has given me to do. But I seem to be being swallowed up. Sometimes it’s as if Eternity is standing within my sight, across the street as if it is beckoning me. It’s kind of frightening. I’m not sure what to make of it.