Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lessons From A Busted Garbage Bag

I'm convinced the workplace is filled with bad employees.  I've worked with them, I've supervised them, and have definitely experienced them as a consumer.  Two examples stand out to me in particular.  One time my mom and I were at Kohls purchasing several small items (LOTS of individual pairs of socks, small candles, etc.) and then bought two shirts to give as gifts.  As we started the transaction this cashier talked non-stop about how horrible her day had been.  She locked her keys in the car, was late, the store was super busy, and lots more.  As she finished the transaction we asked if we could get gift receipts for the two shirts.  She explained that she had to print off gift receipts for every single item (we're talking probably 15 items or so).  My mom commented that it's too bad they couldn't just print them for individual items and the girl said "oh well, it doesn't matter to me.  It's not my money!" and then she handed us the whole pile of receipts.

The most recent example came this morning as we noticed the mail truck coming down the street.  For those of you who don't live here, we had a little snow last night and it was SUPER windy today, and like many other blustery days, it just happened to be trash day.  Our trash cans were out by the street waiting for the garbage man to come pick them up, but at some point one blew over and the bag fell out into the street.  I looked out the window just in time to see our mail lady drive right over the bag of trash, popping it and spreading trash all over the street, instead of driving around the bag.  It's unfortunate that turning the steering wheel would have taken SO much effort.  What happened a few minutes later made me think of how we view occupation.  My mom braved the sub-zero wind chill temps to pick up the garbage the mail lady spread around and a little later the garbage truck came.  I was walking by the window again, just in time to see them dump the trash and then carefully set the cans and lids halfway back in our front yard so that they wouldn't blow out into the street.  A garbage man's job isn't exactly a coveted job, especially when it's cold and snowy, but this guy went the extra mile, and completed his work in a more honorable way than either the cashier or the mail lady.

How often do we go about our work with the mindset that our job is the ministry to which the Lord has called us?  Do we treat our jobs as a ministry or is it just a way to make money?  Even if we don't like it - or if we actually hate it, even if it isn't a glamorous job or might even be looked down upon - like my garbage man, even if our supervisor is terrible or our co-workers are annoying, even if no one seems to notice the work we put in, we are called to work at our jobs with ALL our hearts as working for the Lord not for men.  Do we love our supervisors and co-workers more than ourselves, do put their interests above our own?  Do we take initiative when the job is mundane or difficult, do we do our work without grumbling or complaining?  The workplace is our platform for being God's light, do you take advantage of the opportunities He has given you?  Like it says in 1 Peter 2:11-12, live your lives in the workplace in such a way that your co-workers, customers and supervisors will see a difference, and realize that the difference is Christ in you.

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