Not long after I landed back on American soil last year, a friend shared a sermon with me entitled “Occupy All Streets.” It was a reminder that no matter what we are doing in life, we are a Godly influence in that area and are to live and to work as unto the Lord. I needed to hear that message then as I transitioned into a different type of lifestyle than the one I’d been used to the prior two years. Little did I know that I would continue to need to hear that message over and over and over again as 2013 continued on.
Not too long after moving to Wake Forest, I was lucky enough to get a part time job that didn’t pay minimum wage. That part time job involved putting fruit in a box in a freezing cold warehouse. Time and time again, I questioned the value, legitimacy, and purpose of what I was doing with my master’s degree. Just 3 months prior I had been a missionary in Africa. You know, doing God’s work. Doing work that mattered. Doing work that made a difference. Doing work that I felt “called” to. Doing work that had a purpose. Or so I thought. This past year cyclically brought up the struggle as to whether the work I was now doing was actually important. As to whether or not it mattered or had purpose.
You know what I’ve noticed though? Even when I pull through the McDonald’s drive thru (we all know I love me some McDonald’s) the way the minimum wage earning high school student takes my order and hands me my burger and fries matters. If she is friendly, helpful, and eager to serve, I am always grateful. If I get attitude, laziness, and general unwillingness to serve, I am annoyed. How she takes my order, gives me my change, and hands me the sack of grease that will ultimately kill me matters. And if the girl who works the McDonald’s drive thru can smile and do her job well because how she works matters, then I can too.
Almost exactly a year after hearing that first sermon on occupying all streets, my pastor at Summit preached a sermon on worshiping through our work. The work we do matters. Even if God is the only one who ever notices we do a good job. Even when it isn’t being a missionary in Africa. Even if it seems mundane and insignificant. If Paul can tell slaves in the New Testament to do their work as unto the Lord not to men, then I daresay it applies to us no matter what job we are doing. The job we do matters. How we work matters. Our attitude, perspective, and heart regarding our work matters.
And I’m not saying this because I’ve got it down. I’m saying this because it is something that I have battled this entire past year. Being a missionary is not holy work while packing fruit in boxes is just a job. Our work is worship to God. Our work is a good thing. Let us work as unto the Lord.
You can listen to my pastor’s sermon here if you’d like. I highly suggest it.