When you meet a person for the first time a question often asked is ‘What do you do?’ This is always something I have difficulty in answering; Largely because I have my fingers in lots of pies, and coming up with a single job titles isn’t always easy. But also, I feel that what I do to pay my bills is irrelevant.
To elaborate, right now I’m wearing a white t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and dusty combat boots. If I meet someone new and I sheepishly tell them I clean bathrooms at a gas station, they wouldn’t be surprised. They would look at me and say that I’m dressed the way I am because I’m a member of the proletariat. On the other hand, if I sheepishly told them I own my own investment company and mention the names of some of the companies I’m involved with, they would think I’m one of those down-to-earth billionaire types.
Now I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I’m speaking about society as a whole with my next question. How differently do you think people respond when they think I work in manual labour, versus if they think I have an ultra-high net worth(UHNW)? I know the answer, and I bet you can guess what it is. It’s a shame that we live in a world where someone’s socioeconomic status dictates how they are treated. What’s heartbreaking is that I see the same things happen in churches. At times, the people who have a little more influence, or more connections, or who tithe more money get treated just a little bit better than others.
I’ve had a lot of learning experiences throughout my life, some of which I wish I could do without. I’ve had to get food boxes from churches, and I’m no stranger to the Mexican bucket-shower. I’ve also rubbed shoulders with some swanky people, and know which fork to use at a formal dinner. (Start on the outside, and work your way in. Usually.) I’ve been known to push a broom, and I can banter about the best automotive companies to invest in. (Don’t ask me. Do you own research.)
The trick is to blend in. Adapt and survive, Darwinism in its simplest form. When you can do that, you start being able to read people really well. You begin to recognize genuineness with ease. You’ll look at someone and know if they care about you, or if they care about what you can do for them. This is one of the reasons I’ve drifted away from caring for material pursuits as I’ve gotten older. Keeping up with the Kardashians doesn’t interest me. If that’s the life you want, I’ll go ahead and tell you from experience; It’s hollow.
This is why when I meet people, I rarely ask what their occupation is unless I need to know. I just don’t care. If I think of the people close to me who I’ve interacted with in the past month, I couldn’t tell you what half of them do for a living. How you pay your bills isn’t what matters to me. What matters is how you treat people, especially those with a lower station than you.
This brings us to our scripture for today. From Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae. In chapter three he details his guide for holy living. In the beginning he instructs believer on habits for avoid, and ones to seek. Starting with verse eighteen he gives instructions for the household. Telling wives to submit to their husbands, husbands to love their wives and not be harsh with them. How to treat children and how children should behave. Where I want us to focus is in the final lines of the chapter.
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
The above verses were directed towards bondservants, but this idea can be applied to a wider audience as well. I know others have experienced as I have, or worse, that what you do for a living can affect how others treat you. It is good to remember, however, that it isn’t what you do that matters, but how. Whatever your role in society is, work well at it. Whether you work at a gas station, drive a truck delivering goods, or manage a company selling goods, you all are connected. Each depends on the other, in business as in life. Work diligently at what you do. Take pride in what you do. Treat each other well. You never know what kind of effect you have on your fellow man. Your eagerness and dedication could be what someone else needs to motivate them to do better in their own life.
Saints are called to be a light in the darkness. Let your light shine in all that you do. If you clean the showers of a truck stop, rejoice in the fact that you get to provide a clean area for truckers to shower while they’re on the road for weeks at a time. If you fix cars, you have opportunity to help someone go to work and provide for their family. You will likely never realize the impact you have on those around you.
Let your attitude in your labour be a reflection of your attitude in faith. Also, if there is no one watching you with earthly eyes, remember you are being watched from above. God doesn’t care for the lazy and lukewarm.
The what is of no importance, the how is what matters.
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