Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: THE SERVANT
By Frank Parrino
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Jim Patterson’s motto was that of an unknown person who said, “Work is my worship.” He was unlike any employee of the Green Giant Garden Center. Some said he was, “to good to be true.” He was a quiet young man, yet was the consummate team player. He was great to work with. Everyone’s eyes lit up, as he cheerfully greeted each of his co-workers each morning. Despite his reputation as a ‘holly roller,’ this Christian fellow was well liked, respected, and appreciated by his fellow workers. Jim ‘preached’ by his work ethic. If visitors from another planet were watching him from day to day, they would report back to their leader, “this human called Jim is a humble worker who labors diligently.”
At lunch or on break, he would talk about the things of the Lord with anyone who asked him to give an account of the hope that was in him. Jim had a great attitude. No one heard him complain. He worked hard, was good at what he did, always asked if he wasn’t sure about a question or product to sell, and never lost his enthusiasm. Moreover, the customers loved him. They would write letters to the manager saying Jim made their shopping experience a pleasurable one. He was patient, respectful, friendly, knowledgeable, honest, and helpful.
By the world’s standards, Jim proved the proverbial saying. “Overworked and Underpaid.” While most fussed and complained about work especially on tough days due to being shorthanded, very busy, a difficult customer or two, and a truck waiting to be unloaded, Jim was seen to bow his head in prayer for a moment. He then would go the extra mile without a murmur.
No one is perfect. Not even a Christian fellow like Jim. One day he was having an unusually hard day. Two part timers were manifesting the selfish attitude, ‘why do it when the other person can.’ Jim became angry at them. He told them right out to “stop slacking and do their jobs.” He certainly didn’t win their approval. Jim didn’t ignore or bad mouth them. He collected himself and took the advice of the Maker of the golden rule. “Listen guys. I’m sorry I blew up at you. I was on overload. No one told or showed you what to do. Let me show you around and some things to do so we can run this place effectively.” Jim had himself two new friends.
When asked why he was different, Jim replied in his deliberate and humble tone, “When you follow God’s directions found in His Word, including those for work, you find real peace and joy despite the daily grind. Work is a reminder of our sinner hood. There are lots of thorns and thistles that produce lots of sweaty brows. Your work can go unnoticed or unappreciated. Sometimes our tasks seem so menial or unimportant. But God sees and knows. He is our Boss. He is the one we answer too. At the final Judgment, He will reward us for a job well done no matter how big or small or seemingly insignificant or cast in the limelight. We have to approach our work as good servants. Jesus is both our Lord and our servant model. Scripture exhorts us to do our work heartily as for the Lord. We serve Him. This is how we develop our skills, self worth, and character, have a real sense of accomplishment, and build healthy relationships with others.”
A new manager took over who knew nothing about this “Joseph.” Calling Jim into his office, the manager said in a firm tone, “Jim, I need you to work Sunday’s and be my closer.” Without hesitating, Jim calmly replied, “Sir, I enjoy working here and appreciate your vote of confidence. I asked not to be told to lie, steal, or work on Sunday. I cannot violate my Christian conviction and work on the Lord’s Day.” “Well, finish out the day and don’t come back. You’re fired!”
Jim didn’t say another word. He went back to work. The young man didn’t slack off one iota. He worked diligently and effectively as always. All the while the manager watched him. Finally, it was time to close. “Jim, please stay. You made me realize that character and integrity are important and rare. I’m sorry. I want you to work for me.” Jim, a humble servant of the Lord, worshipped God by doing his work which glorified the Lord.
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