Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.
Don't you miss working? It was a question I'd answered dozens of time before but as always it caused me to pause. It is true that I had been successful in my own right. I earned a six figure income, sat in an office and had a high degree of both accountability and influence at my company. Now my salary was zero, my "office" was the kitchen/laundry room and my influence didn't extend much beyond the front door. My new job title was Mom.
Yes. There was definitely a part of me that missed working. I missed the achievement marked by regular performance reviews. I craved the recognition of titles and advancement. My new world defined success loosely as day including a shower, clothes that only contained a minor splotch of spit-up and cleaning something other than a miniature human.
This morning I am reading the 23rd chapter of Matthew. This entire passage contains teaching directed toward the leaders of the Jewish religion. In fact the phrase "practice what you preach" is derived from the third verse of this chapter. The heads of the temple were long in setting standards and short in living up them.
In one lesson, Jesus outlines four practices that undermine their work:
- They Do Their Work To Be Seen by Others (Verse 5) - In my former line of work, I made quarterly presentations to the highest levels of management. While some shy away from public speaking, I reveled in the opportunity to present my work and help guide the financial rudder of my company's ship. This thirty minute delivery was the apex of one quarter's analysis done primarily in the privacy ofmy office. I was more than willing to work three months for a half hour of recognition. Every person enjoys being acknowledged for their contribution.
- They Love the Place of Honor (Verse 6) - One of my favorite activities when I worked outside the home was watching the staff congregate for a meeting. They offered great insight into how various employees measured their importance. Whoever was hosting the meeting invariably sat at the head of the table. Then the high ranking officials would flank said host typically according to their own level of importance. The rank and file employees would fill in the back and fringe seats. You could walk into a meeting a gage the pay grade of a staff member simply by their position in the room. I personally never clamored for a particular seat at the meeting but that is mostly because I was too busy being amused by other's attempts to do so. People love being seated in the place of honor.
- The Love Greetings in the Marketplace (Verse 7) - Anytime I move to a new job, church or community, I make an effort to learn people's names as quickly as possible. Nothing puts another person at ease more than calling them by their name. In direct contrast, some of the more embarrassing moments of my life have been when I was recognized by another person and caught stammering for a single piece of information about them. It can be downright humiliating when someone knows my name and I can not reciprocate. Humans enjoy the sound of their own name.
- The Love Being Called Rabbi (Verse 7) - I would like to say that when I worked outside the home, that I didn't care what my job title was. The truth is we all care. There is a difference between an administrative assistant, an analyst, a director and a president. Titles matter because they define one's role and level of authority.
The truth is this freedom is offered not just to stay-at-home moms. Jesus offers this privilege to every Christian. When God instructed as to work as though we were working for Him, we were unshackled of the burden of titles, positions and places of honor. We are free to work for the delight of an audience of One.
Jesus, thank you for the gift of working for You alone. When I work for You, I am unrestrained by the expectations and measurements of mankind. I am thrust into the arms of my Father who delights in me and granted the best title of all - Daughter of the King.