I’m not the greatest handyman, but painting is one home improvement I’m pretty good at doing. Put me in a room with a paintbrush, a roller, and a can of paint, and I can make things happen (including splatters and drips). Painting can be a messy enterprise, but at the end of the day, you see the results of your work. In my work as a minister, outward evidence of transformation isn’t always so obvious.
When my wife and I moved into our current house, I painted several rooms. One day Candy was gone and I had the whole day to work by myself, so I decided to paint the hallway that leads down to the basement. It was dark in there. I flipped the switch and turned on the overhead light, but the area remained dimly lit. I rigged up an extension cord and set a couple of lamps on the floor, but throughout the day I struggled to see the walls in the less-than-ideal light.
That evening Candy came home and surveyed the work I had done. Looking at the hallway walls, she nodded her approval, but she asked, “Why is it so dark in here?” Before I could respond, she pushed a little knob on the side of the light switch, which I hadn’t noticed. It was a dimmer switch. All day I had labored in semi-darkness, when I could have been working in the light.
On the Job With Jesus
Unfortunately, many in today’s workforce are laboring in the dark. According to an article in Forbes magazine, 80 percent of American workers feel stressed at work, only 30 percent feel “engaged and inspired,” and 18 percent are “actively disengaged”—present at work but hate every minute of it.
Jesus wants to go to work with you. The Lord doesn’t stay cooped up in a church building all week. He’s at home in factories, offices, schools, stores, and construction sites. Jesus worked as a carpenter, teacher, healer, leadership trainer, foot washer, and breakfast cook. The CEO of the universe knows what it takes to run a business, and he can infuse your work with a higher purpose.
Obviously, we work in order to earn an income, but the Bible mentions several additional reasons for labor as well:
- To honor our Creator (Genesis 2:15; Exodus 20:9). Work has dignity because God designed us to do it.
- To provide for others (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:8). We earn money so we can care for our families and have something to share with those in need.
- To exercise our gifts (Romans 12:6-8). Christians should approach our daily work with a sense of calling. It’s a privilege to serve God with the abilities he has given us.
- To exert influence for the Lord and his church (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12; Titus 2:9, 10). The workplace is a mission field. Reliable, diligent employees build relationships, earn respect, and set an attractive example for a watching world.
Thank the Lord, there’s more to life than merely enduring our daily work until we finally retire and die. Don’t waste your days painting in the dark. Let the light of Christ shine in your job so that whatever you do, you “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.