Tag Archives: Professions

Binary Actions

Everything you do will bring glory to God or to something else. Said another way: everything you do honors God or dishonors him.

There is no middle ground. (and yes, it really is that simple.)

Every action in your day will be honoring or dishonoring to God. How could it be any other way?

At work: that email you sent, that font change you made, printing in color versus black and white, staying late versus leaving early, remembering to run the reports on time, spell-checking your document before it gets sent out.

At home: not making your bed, eating out instead of cooking at home, drinking water instead of soda, reading that book, reading THAT Book (get it? *gag*), brushing and (/or?) flossing, exercising for an hour… you get the picture.

Everything you do. Everything. Everything matters.

And maybe as you were reading those lists, you were tempted to think I’m making a statement about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. “You should print in black and white to conserve ink.” Or, “You should always make your bed.” I’m not saying that at all.

If I’m printing a report for a client, you better believe I’m printing in color, and you better believe I printed a proof in color as well, and I am probably printing on a heavier paper. And if I’m running late in the morning, it’s possible it would be downright disobedient and God dishonoring to stop to make my bed.

So the message isn’t, “Do this, not that.”

The message is, “Be mindful.”

You’re always going to bring honor and glory to something, no matter the task. Make sure you know where that glory is going.

You do what you want

I’m always doing what I want. You are too. We all do exactly what we want all the time, and if we don’t want to do something, we don’t do it.

“But, but, but… I want to eat better… I want to exercise… I want to read more… I want to get off twitter.”

No. You don’t.

Because if you really wanted to, you would.

This is the truth about everything, sin included. Any sin you’ve ever committed, you wanted to commit. In the moment, you wanted to sin more than you wanted to be obedient… so you sinned. I mean, contrary to what I tell my wife sometimes, I have never accidentally eaten a cupcake.

When I eat a cupcake, I eat it because eating the cupcake seems more valuable to me than being healthy, or not glutting myself. (I just ate half a dozen cupcakes… just HALF a dozen. and it was an accident. ACCIDENT.)

This is the truth for all of our sins, and we can see it play out over and over again in our work. When we are lazy, when we are unfocused, when we cut corners, when we are short tempered with our co-workers. These are all things that we “don’t want to do.” But in the moment we want to. We want to more than we don’t want to, or we wouldn’t.

When we find ourselves failing at work, the first thought many of us have is to try to white knuckle our way into being better workers. “I should just DO BETTER!” we tell ourselves.

When was the last time that actually worked?

Never. And it doesn’t work because in the moment we don’t believe that being disciplined, or working hard, or whatever it is, is better than the alternative. So we do the things that we ultimately “don’t want to do.”

But you did want to do it.

Have you ever had something that you wanted so bad, you could taste it (why is this whole post about food?) One time I was in bed, but I wanted a taco so bad I got up from bed, put on clothes, and talked my wife into driving across town with me to Taco Bell (don’t judge me… your sins are no different than mine… they just have less sour cream.) Let me say that again for effect; I GOT OUT OF BED AND DROVE ACROSS TOWN FOR A TACO.

And then, after eating my taco, I wasn’t satisfied, so I went back for another taco. (I almost wish this was a made up story, but it isn’t. Here’s a tweet from 2012 to prove it.)

Taco Tweet

In that moment, I made the decision that a taco (or two) from taco bell was better than being healthy. I wanted those tacos.

If I had been training for a marathon and was going to run it the next morning, you can bet I wouldn’t have eaten a taco at 9:03 the night before. I would have wanted to run a better race more than I wanted a taco. I would have done what I wanted to do, just like I did what I wanted to do. But the action would have been different. See, it’s all about what do you want more?

So what’s the point of all this?

Unsurprisingly, Jesus told us this was the case.

When Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He wasn’t putting some weird guilt trip on us. Jesus was making an observation. He’s observing the fact that, “If you love me – if I’m the most important thing in your life – you won’t be able to help yourself… you’ll keep my commandments.”

Jesus is saying that if you love him. If you truly love him and you can understand what he’s done for you and how much HE loves you. You’ll WANT to keep his commandments. And you will want to every second of every day, because keeping his commandments will look sooooo much better to you than any alternative.

And therein lies the problem and the solution. You doing the things you “don’t want to do” or not doing the things you want to do. It’s a simple “want to” problem. It’s an affection problem. You don’t want to, because your affections are in the wrong place.

So today when you are tempted to procrastinate, or be short with a coworker, or be disappointed in your job title – the answer is not to mentally flog yourself, or feel terrible about yourself. The answer is to think about what Jesus has done for you.

The Gospel is a great motivator, but not because you feel guilty. The Gospel is a great motivator because if your heart is full of love for God, it won’t have room to love anything else.

Today you only need to work harder at one thing, and this is going to sound really corny, and I’m sorry for that, but today you only need to work harder at loving Jesus. If you get that, everything else will fall in to place.

If you love Jesus more, you will work harder and more diligently at your job. If you love Jesus more, you will be more patient and kind with your coworkers. If you love Jesus more, you will focus more clearly on the most important task. If you love Jesus more, you’ll do exactly what you want to do.

Get updates! About once a week, get help remembering that your work matters to God.

We’re All Serving Someone

I just read this piece, Inside the Barista Class, by Molly Osberg. It’s pretty long, but interesting. I’m having a hard time recommending you read the whole thing, but I’ll provide a link below. She is discussing being a Barista, and her experience in NYC. Blah blah blah… then this:
Serving can be deeply satisfying work, physically and emotionally; I’ve rarely felt more in my body than on those days when I got the math right, pulled the lever down on the espresso machine as I reached for the next cup, knocked out ninety drinks in an hour. But service isn’t considered lesser than other professions because it’s less honorable, or even requires fewer skills. I’d love to see a graphic designer take apart each component of an ancient espresso machine for which no manual exists, or watch a fact-checker talk a junkie out of a bathroom without getting the police involved. The knowledge required to read a customer, to justify the processes and origins of that $12 cup of coffee, is just as specialized as knowing what a nut graph is. And, to be perfectly real, this is New York, and America, and the world; just a couple steps up the food chain, we’re all serving someone.
These jobs are seen as lesser because we made them this way.

And oh man. Isn’t that great? Isn’t it so true?

Serving is dignified and respectable. Serving can be deeply physically and emotionally satisfying. Serving isn’t lesser.

But we try to make service lesser. (Who is we? Collective we? Societal we?)

When you serve someone, you get to imitate a savior who served you at great cost. His service was humiliating and painful, but he served you because it was his joy to do so. When you serve faithfully, you get to honor God in your service and bring him glory.

If you work in food service (or any other service) you get to actively mimic Jesus’ service to us. And you get to do that every minute you’re on the clock. That sounds like vocational ministry.

So I guess the point is –

Baristas are pastors. (I’m not kidding) (Tweet that.)

Isn’t service great?

Link to the article because I promised (but don’t feel obligated.) – Link

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