"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23Working for people isn't necessarily disappointing but it can be. A boss, a colleague, a student (or a whole class for that matter!) can turn into an enemy without real reasons. I may feel that all the good work I am doing is producing little fruit. But, if I claim to be a Christian, if I focus on the kingdom of God here on earth, then I must look at inconveniences from a different perspective. My belief sheds a new light on the reason why I do my work and on how I do my work. I am reminded that our God took on flesh and came among us. I cannot forget that while He was with us, Jesus spent most of His time serving others. Therefore, my desire is to serve Him through my own work. I want to work for Jesus. I want to work with Jesus. It starts by following His example and serving others. If I do that, if I decide to serve Him by serving students, colleagues, bosses, then everything changes. I serve them, I love them as much as I can, all the while doing my work as best as I can. While I do this, I keep my eyes on Him. My work honors Him and serves Him. I still do the same work with the same people, but my motives aren't the same. My work is not aimed at honoring myself anymore. It is meant to bring Him glory and to express my gratitude for His unfailing love. I may still experience failure–a bad lesson, a disagreement with a co-worker, a difficult student, a demanding boss. My daily life may still seem like a marathon, but I am not depleted. I take comfort in doing my work well, for the sake of the kingdom. Understanding Colossians 3:23 and living it out changed my outlook on my work. I decided that I could do good for these students who are obviously in need of care, love, and a good education. I could try to be Jesus' arms and mouth here in my classroom, in this school, in the teachers' room. I could try and work for peace and with great love right where I was because of this: "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9 This idea felt refreshing. My nights became less chaotic and my days less heavy. I felt a surge of strength and hope. It wasn't coming from me. It was God's strength working through me. Things got better from that point onward. Right now, I am still teaching in this school. I am facing similar challenges. But I am engaging in my work in a different way. I am now regularly praying for my students. Even on the hard days, when a student is so disrespectful I almost lose my temper. Even on the days where it seems I have achieved nothing good. I am learning to keep my eyes on the Lord, on His message. I "run my race." And I feel encouraged by the hope that the gospel provides. I feed on Paul's words that I have come to learn by heart:
"So let's not get tired of doingwhat is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9It is my gift to God, the way I use the gifts He has given me. Even if I am no martyr, still I hope that my life and the life of my students will testify that I, "hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not run the racein vain and that my work was not useless (Philippians 2:16). So wherever you are, whatever your job is right now, either in the trenches of a hospital, in a classroom, on a farm or a law firm, at your kitchen sink, in your office, I hope you know that your work can serve the kingdom of God. You can love your co-workers, your employees, your patients, or your students. You can be the good, you can be the change. You can be a bold light in your workplace. You can be Jesus' hands and mouth here on earth, daily. God can redeem your work and turn it into work for His kingdom. So don't get tired of doing good and keep your eyes on Him, always.