I love to work—always have and probably always will. Coming from a large household of six children, I learned early-on to chip-in and do my part of the work of keeping up a home. Washing dishes, for example, has its own reward: you start with a messy kitchen and, with just a little work, end with a sparkling clean counter and dishes. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well-done. I wish that feeling for everyone.
Paul instructed the Christians in Colosse: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
I’m not sure of my own motivation for loving to work and perhaps it varied over the years, but I always wanted to work. From around age 10 until my mid-teens, the calendar was usually filled with babysitting jobs in the neighborhood. I think the trick was that not only did I get along well with their children, but I also spruced-up their homes for them while babysitting. Even though I never had my own children, the skills of working with a variety of people served me well in teaching and in life.
I’ve had many other jobs through the years (tourist shop clerk, waitress [the only job I think I did really poorly!], grocery store butcher, head cook in an Italian restaurant, hotel maid and janitor, insurance report reviewer and file clerk, motor vehicle clerk, state trooper dispatcher, secretary, deputy city clerk, etc.). I finally earned my elementary education degree and then retired after teaching for 21 years. I loved the learning that went along with every single one of those jobs and found that the skills learned translated into other parts of life, too!
When I moved to Idaho, I tried just being retired, but I ended up working remotely for six months for the city clerk of my former community by writing resolutions and an election manual to implement mail-in voting there. When that job was over, I began working as receptionist at the church, job-sharing with Laura Koepke, and later Chris Gray, so we could still enjoy our retirements, too. During these difficult times (don’t you want that now-trite phrase to disappear from our language?), Chris and I have been fortunate to continue our regular work from our homes. To produce the Sunday slides, we start with just words in a Worship Order and end up with the visual representations you see during the services. It’s very rewarding for us to see the results and hopefully enhances your worship experience, too.
I really DO love to work! When I recently read about all the places in our area looking for employees, I was astonished! All these skills to be learned are going to waste! All these experiences to be had are not being utilized! All the new people to meet, learn from, teach are not being enjoyed! It’s sad for me to know that so many people are out of work right now.
I’ve been fortunate that the longest I’ve been without work (when I wanted it) was five days. My dad always said that I just had a “Good, old-fashioned, German work ethic.” I don’t know about that, but I do know that I didn’t do the jobs just for the money--even though I also enjoy that aspect of work. I love to learn new things, but I don’t usually think about my motivation to want to work.
Perhaps Paul expressed it best for me in Galatians 6:4-5: Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. I pray that the Lord will empower us to take our “messy kitchen” of a world right now and restore it to a sparkling clean one, one that allows people to work and experience the pride in a job well-done. I pray that He can show us that our world can get back towhere we come out the other side with a new appreciation for work and for the life we’ve been given so that we learn to make the most of it. There is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. Hebrews 4:9-10
I think I’ll keep working until I find my eternal rest. May you experience that same joy. Your friend in Christ, Emily