August 29, 2019

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~Colossians 3:23-4 

Dear Friends:

How did you all start out in the world of work?

On this Labor Day weekend, I can’t help but think about the various jobs that I have held over the years. My first job, when I was 13, was babysitting. I earned 50 cents an hour and all the cookies I could eat.  Then my last summer before college, I was hired as a waitress at the local Big Boy’s restaurant.  I worked the night shift, from 4;00 in the afternoon until midnight four nights a week. Of course, there were perks to the job… I was given a free uniform. Remember the old Brownie uniform? That’s kind of what my waitress outfit looked like: brown skirt, white blouse, with a little orange bow tie. The crowning touch was the hairnet over my cool Jane Fonda haircut (!).

But I did learn a lot that summer.

I learned how to balance five plates at once without using a tray, how to keep smiling even when being called out by a customer, and I learned a lot about money that summer.  I learned that teenagers rarely tip, business folks tip fairly well, and truckers tip best of all.  All in all, it was a fruitful summer.

On this Labor Day weekend, I find myself turning to Paul’s words to the church at Colossae:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord….”

The priest Benedict (@500 A.D.) took Pauls’ words seriously, reminding his fellow monks that everything they did – from the dishes to weeding the community garden – was God’s work and therefore holy. Even the rake in their hands was holy. A mom in her blog recently reflected on this idea: “I take the sponge and rinse it in the sink. Nothing in this kitchen is all that special. I’ve been living as if my daily, mundane tasks—the brushing of my son’s teeth, the kissing of his scraped knees—as if they were nothing significant. I’m mesmerized by St. Benedict’s words…. Suddenly my life, the very sippy cup I fill with milk and raise to my boy’s lips, is an instrument of worship. How did I miss it before? How was I so sure that God did not value my unimpressive daily life?” 

What are the tools of your trade?

A stethoscope? Keyboard? Truck? Needle & thread? Your sales pitch? Heavy textbooks in your backpack? iPad? All are holy.

All work matters to God.  May we do it all for the Lord.