By Nick Brzozowski
Are you satisfied with your work?
Or does the thought cross your mind that if you only had this position or that role, then you would feel like a success?
Now, I do believe that there is a time to leave behind what you have known and take a risk toward your dream. But, even that takes time and preparation.
In this post, I hope to fill you with some hope and purpose for what you are doing right now, for what you spent a large portion of your week doing.
You might be surprised to see just how important your work is!
Here are five reasons why what you do matters.
1. You were made to create and to contribute.
Sometimes work feels like a necessary evil. Maybe even today you started dreaming of a retirement filled with beaches and golf. Maybe you started to calculate how much it would take to retire in a few years or even started watching a YouTube video on how someone figured out how to retire at 30.
But, being totally without work will get boring. And I guarantee, you’d start to miss it.
God gave Adam an assignment before sin came into the world. That means that in a perfect world, work is enjoyable and important. A perfect world is not work-free!
In fact, working is a major part of being human. In Genesis 1:26-27, God creates men and women in his own image and gives them dominion over the fish and the birds and the cattle. This doesn’t just include working but it includes being creative - being made in God’s image must include a capacity to create, just like he creates. Having dominion over creation must include being responsible to care for the earth and to take the raw materials and creatures to build systems and societies and buildings, art, and even families.
2. You will be rewarded for the smallest acts of service.
Matthew, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, records something unexpected that Jesus said, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
To me, this is unexpected because when I think about rewards in heaven, I think of years of hard work. I think of people who persuade others to be Christians. I think of people who were killed because of their belief in God. I think of people whose business was so successful they could afford to build a hospital for the less fortunate.
But, not here. Here, Jesus tells us that God notices the very smallest acts of kindness and that we will be rewarded for them.
So the next time you put in that extra time on that PowerPoint or help out a co-worker with out your boss noticing, remember this: God notices even the small things.
3. Work may be your primary way of loving God and others.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he didn’t hesitate. He said — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
But how are you supposed to love God and people when you’re putting in 60 or 70 hours at work every week. You barely even have time for yourself, let alone others.
Wait a minute though, we just talked about how work may be the opportunity to serve others.
But, work can also be your primary way of loving God. Going to church, singing worship, hearing a preacher — yes, these are all great ways to love God — but, they aren’t the only ways.
If you give your full attention and energy at work, working as if God were your boss, you are bringing to the Sunday worship to the rest of the week!
Right after Hannah and I were married, she got a job at a dental office as a receptionist. Every day, she gave it her all. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone. She wasn’t trying to climb the ladder. She was seeking to serve others and to love God.
So, she would finish up her monthly projects in a week. Then, she would spend the rest of the month checking in to see who else may need help. She would do this consistently. Through that time, she gained the reputation for working with different doctors with all kinds of different expectations and personalities.
Eventually, she was promoted — actually, she was promoted a few times. When a door eventually opened for her to work in a church, she took it but, not without the dental office offering a raise for her to stay!
4. Your work may just be indispensable.
My professor was sharing once that he had a conversation with a garbage man. The man was feeling inferior and purposeless, so the professor did a little thought experiment with him.
“Now, think for a minute what the world would be like if no one did what you did?”
Disease. Disgust. Desolation.
This one question transformed his view of himself and it may be the question you need to ask yourself to realize just how indispensable your work is.
I think of my father-in-law. He is a structural engineer and spends years working to close down nuclear power plants. So, if he makes a mistake, there can be huge negative ramifications. Fortunately, he is precise and calculated. He knows what he is doing!
5. You may be working your job for a lot longer than you think.
If you hate what you do, don’t panic just yet!
Here’s what I mean. Although there is a lot of mystery around eternity and the afterlife, we have reasons to think that it really isn’t going to be an infinity shuffle board game.
In the apostle John’s vision, he describes a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). What do you think of when you think of a new earth? Do you think of a gate with clouds and angels? Maybe.
What about a new car? Typically, when I think of a new car, I still think of a car, not a boat or a plane.
So, what if how you may think of heaven is closer to earth than you thought? What if heaven has mountains and trees and rivers and beaches and whales and eagles? What if heaven has culture and cities and business and industry and traditions?
Could it be that the skills and trade that you are acquiring right now could be useful in the next life? The relationships and friendships we forge now could continue on. Even the care that we treat the earth, the way we treat the environment, now could be significant into eternity!
Whatever it is that you do to contribute — blue collar or white collar, collaborative or individual, at home or in the office — it matters! It is far more significant than you may realize.
So, take a moment and thank God for your job!