When you meet someone for the first time, it is said that you only have a moment to make a first impression. Why is it that the first question we ask is about what kind of work they do? There is something intriguing to me that a person's work is one of the key attributes that defines a person, and how we internally classify them.
The Rat Race
Work is a major component of our identity, informing how we see ourselves and our place in this world. Every day, the pressure is on to perform, to deliver results, to bring value to the work we do by the effort of our own hands.
This performance brings success in many forms:
We consider this normal and what is expected of us in a fast-paced culture like the one we live in; but, with this normality comes a focus that all too often robs us of joy. When our joy is tied to our latest sales numbers or our acceptance at the office, we live on an emotional rollercoaster that we can never quite get under control.
When our joy is tied to our latest sales numbers or our acceptance at the office, we live on an emotional rollercoaster that we can never quite get under control.
He Sees Me
When our identity is found in Christ, our work becomes another way to worship. Our focus shifts from trying to get ahead and obtaining the next worldly achievement to serving Christ in how we work. Paul sets this reminder for us that the prize for all of our work is the call of God to walk in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Our joy in work comes from shifting our focus from the daily grind to the heavenly impact we can have. Instead of rushing through the day and just tolerating our co-workers, we slow down our response and see each person as one created in the image of God.
So Will I
There's a song we have been singing regularly in our worship services called, "So Will I'. It's a beautiful song but there is one lyric that takes my breath away every time we sing it.
I can see Your heart eight billion different ways. Every precious one a child you died to save. If you gave your life to love them so will I
In my world of fast-paced office doing, the daily grind is so great that the default mode is to run all day long, and most days not even notice other people exist. This reminder in Philippians calls me to challenge this status quo, to slow down my response, and really see other people as valuable. Some days, this intentional focus prepares the way for deep conversations that lead into spiritual truths. More often, it leads into a mindset shift that has me praying for others on a routine basis. My desire is that out of these prayers and conversations, the name of Christ is made famous. If I can make a difference for His kingdom, then my joy can be found in Him and my work can be of eternal value.
Marshall Parker, along with his wife Patty and three children, has been a member of Legacy Church for the past 9 years. He works hard, plays hard and hopes that through it all that people see Jesus.