Not every moment of every work day is filled with joy. There are days that are just plain miserable. Nothing goes right. Half the equipment breaks down. Everyone gets cranky. The hours grind on and on and on.
You’ve had days like that. I’ve had days like that. All God’s children have had days like that.
So what do we do on “days like that” to grow in our relationship with God and bless those around us? How can we find joy on the worst of days? Is there any way to redeem dismal?
I thought a little on that a little and came up with a few suggestions that might just do the trick on the dreariest of “days like that.”
First and foremost, I would advise you to fix your eyes on what is permanent.
I love the message of encouragement Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 4:16-18. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)
What’s permanent is not the troubles we’re facing on any given day. What’s permanent is what we cannot see. Our salvation. Our every reward in Heaven. Our God and Savior.
All the troubles we face in this life – broken down tractors, cranky bosses, dead air conditioners, failed computers, grumpy customers – are just passing, short-lived annoyances. The machines will be fixed – or replaced – sooner or later. Things will be patched up with people eventually. So don’t spend all your time worrying over these things.
Remind yourself of the things that are forever. Remember what Jesus has done for you. Twice in Hebrews we’re told to do just that. Hebrews 3:1 tells us to “fix [our] thoughts on Jesus.” (NIV) Hebrews 12:2-3 says much more. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (NIV)
Jesus died in your place so you could spend eternity with God. Rejoice in the incredible gift of eternal life that God has given. Don’t forget what’s permanent.
“…you have been raised with Christ, [so] set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV)
Keeping a focus on the eternal will help you endure the mundane troubles in your workplace.
Now, with your eyes on the prize, take time to pray. I don’t know how many times a friend of mine has testified in Sunday School or in one-on-one conversations I’ve had with him that he’s taken computer programming problems to God in prayer. And the solutions always come. Why do they come? First, because God knows computer software better than any programmer or geek does. Second, because God gets the glory when he helps his children solve problems.
So when things are breaking down and all hell has broken loose, pray. Pray for your equipment. Pray for your boss. Pray for your coworkers. God cares about all this stuff, so bring it to him.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
And don’t forget that you can pray on good days too. Find reasons to pray for your coworkers when things are going well. Thank God each day that machines run smoothly and no one gets hurt and spirits are high. In the good times and the bad, go to God with your concerns and joys. Constant conversation with your Maker will change your outlook and bring enjoyment to your work-a-day world.
With your heart set on the permanent and your mind engaged in prayer, set your hands to service.
Listen to God’s Word on this matter.
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” (Ephesians 6:5-8, NIV)
Serving your boss, your company, your coworkers with the same attitude of respect and fear and sincerity of heart that you serve Jesus with will benefit you. Most likely it will benefit you now. You’ll have better relationships with those around you. You’ll be valuable to the company. You’ll bring customers back for a repeat visit. But even if you don’t see any immediate rewards for respectful and sincere service, you will see eternal rewards. God will see to it that your valuable service to his Son in your workplace receives its just deserts. You will – don’t miss this – be rewarded forever for your performance on the job.
Why? Because you are working for the Lord, not men. Because the light of your good works shining in your work place brings glory and praise to your Father in Heaven.
So unless our boss instructs you to do something illegal or immoral, do what’s asked of you with excellence, with eagerness, with the joy and strength God gives. We do all things at all times in all circumstances for God’s glory. When our boss blows up at us, we choose to submit to Jesus. When our coworkers are annoyed with us, we serve Jesus by serving them.
All for praise to God…always!
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