I’ve been working with the U.S Army quite a bit this past month assisting with training for our Homeland Response forces. These soldiers could be providing assistance to a community or region affected by a terrorist event or a natural disaster. They could be working for a Mayor, County Commission or a Governor. Their mission is designed so that it doesn’t matter who they report to, but that they consistently execute their missions. I wrote a post in February of 2012 called “Who are you working for?”. We often hear the phrase in response, “working for the man” when people describe their jobs. Do you know who you are working for?
I’d like to suggest that you consider yourself working as though you are working for God or Jesus Christ and that God shows through in everything that you do. If you had to go to work for God everyday, I bet you would approach your work much differently than you do today. Change your outlook, do your best at all times and at the end of each day pause, close your eyes, tilt your head towards heaven and imagine God’s smile and a wink. You’ve done a good job today!
Colossians 3:23-24 “What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Do your friends and family ever wonder why you work so hard or have the patience that you do for your work? The “man” doesn’t care how hard you work, just that you keep showing up, keep your mouth shut and do your job. Working for the “man” is what many people feel destined to do. But the “man” in Paul’s letter is the Lord! Feels different now doesn’t it? We are a reflection of the goodness of God and all that Jesus Christ taught us about living our lives. He didn’t say, “go and work just for yourselves and leave the others to suffer”.
Jesus taught us to care for each for other and give willingly. While many of us do just that, we know how hard it can be at times. We do a good job and are thankful for the opportunity to serve others. God’s plan for us includes using us as examples for others to see His goodness. When you smile at or encourage someone at work, you are reflecting God’s goodness. When you continue to work hard when everyone else is taking advantage of the workplace, you are reflecting God’s goodness. When you un-jam the copier after someone else walked away from it, you are reflecting God’s goodness. We can see God’s goodness if we just look for it – its everywhere. It is the Lord you are serving, do it with all of your heart!
“Service Before Self”, is one of the core values of the US Air Force. We all serve someone at some point in our day and usually throughout our lives. As parents, we serve our kids, as spouses we serve our mate and as employees we serve customers – either internal or external to the company. Even leaders have people that they serve. A leader should be someone who is serving those that follow them; the concept of servant leadership. By making their followers stronger, servant leaders build up their staff and work to make them successful. There are people in leadership positions who wrongfully believe that since they are in this place of “power” that people should be serving them. A true leader is more concerned about how they can support and help those that follow them. Ken Blanchard writes extensively about servant leadership and his research on leadership. We all see many people today who are simply serving themselves. The millennium generation grew up watching the greed of Wall Street and “leaders” serving their own interests. If anyone else benefited, well, that was just extra. So, who are you serving? I would suggest putting your focus on others and see what comes of it. I have benefited from a number of mentors in my life and I have also played that role for others. It is immensely satisfying and rewarding to help others when there is nothing to be gained.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
St. Paul wrote a lot about serving others in his letters, focusing much of his attention on humility. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds them to be humble proclaiming “I came to you in weakness and fear”, he was asking them to serve others with humility too. Using Jesus as our example, ask yourself, how did He show humility for us? The first thing that comes to my mind is the washing of His disciple’s feet at the last supper. The leader of the group, the leader of the heavens washed feet. Jesus was serving us! The Son of God and God Himself was serving us so that we would have eternal life. God has prepared the good works for us. He has set the course, put people in our lives and us in the lives of others so that we could execute the plan He has for us. God has prepared these good works for us in advance; they aren’t chance but these opportunities are given to us to do God’s work. We are not put here to do our works or to be boastful. My apologies to the Air Force but “Service Before Self” really came from God, was demonstrated to us by Jesus and now we must humble ourselves to serve others, just as God planned.