156) Glorifying God in Our Work

By Edna Hong, Bright Valley of Love,  copyright 1976, Augsburg Publishing House, pages 98-9
    In his next (confirmation) class Pastor Wilm picked up the subject of what’s a guy to do with himself when he’s no longer just a boy.             
    “Tell me,” he asked, “what do you think is the best work, the truest calling?”
    “To be a minister or a missionary,” several answered at once.
    Pastor Wilm chuckled.  “Many people think so, especially ministers and missionaries.  But God has different ideas, and I suspect that sweeping streets and mopping floors is just as good and true.”
     “A soldier,” said Wolfgang.
     “A mother,” said Minna.
     “No,” answered Pastor Wilm.  “You may name all the jobs under the sun, and I will still say No.  I believe with Paul and with Martin Luther that the true calling for us human beings is to glorify God, to glorify him in spirit, mind, and body.  Whatever we do with our lives, our first and foremost task is to glorify God.  On every piece of music Johann Sebastian Bach composed he wrote, ‘To God alone the glory.’  Tell me now, what do you think of our friend Fränzchen?”
     They all thought of Fränzchen, who drove a donkey cart up and down the streets of Bethel and collected garbage and swill for the pigs.  Just about all he could say was “Pig swill!  Pig swill!”  And yet Fränzchen was always happy and cheerful.  It made you feel good inside when he passed by.
      “Fränzchen glorifies God,” came a voice from the back of the room.
     “You bet he does!” said Pastor Wilm.  “Fränzchen could go around feeling that life has cheated him, that he has an inferior, worthless body and mind, not even good enough for the scrap heap.  But Fränzchen’s spirit knows that even with his afflicted mind and body he can glorify God.  And because he does, brings joy to everyone he meets.  To see Fränzchen makes me love Jesus Christ all the more.”
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    The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly “as to the Lord.”  This does not, of course, mean that it is for anyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies.  A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow.  We are members of one body, but differentiated members, each with his own vocation.   –C. S. Lewis, page 26, Weight of Glory
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    A man can be as truly a saint in a factory as in a monastery, and there is as much need of him in the one as in the other.    –Robert McCracken
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No race can prosper until it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.    –Booker T. Washington
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If everybody contemplates theology instead of fixing the drains, many of us will die of cholera.
–John Rich
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I Thessalonians 4:11  —  Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you. 
 
Galatians 6:9-10  —  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 
 
Colossians 3:23-24  —  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 
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Those things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us thy grace to labor for.  Amen.   

–Sir Thomas More (d. 1535)

137) Lessons From His Parents

By Randy Pausch,  The Last Lecture, © 2008,  pp. 24…169,170

    HOW TO KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE:  When I was studying for my PhD, I took something called “the theory qualifier,” which I can now definitively say was the second worst thing in my life after chemotherapy.  When I complained to my mother about how hard and awful the test was, she leaned over, patted me on the arm and said, “We know just how you feel, honey.  And remember, when your father was your age, he was fighting the Germans.”

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     HUMILITY:  It’s been well-documented that there is a growing sense of entitlement among young people today.  I have certainly seen that in my classrooms.  So many graduating seniors have this notion that they should be hired because of their creative brilliance.  Too many are unhappy with the idea of starting at the bottom.  My advice has always been:  “You ought to be thrilled you got a job in the mailroom.  And when you get there, here’s what you do:  Be really great at sorting mail.”

    No one wants to hear someone say:  “I’m not good at sorting mail because the job is beneath me.”  No job should be beneath us.  And if you can’t (or won’t) sort mail, where is the proof that you can do anything?

    After our ETC students were hired by companies for internships or first jobs, we’d often ask the firms to give us feedback on how they were doing.  Their bosses almost never had anything negative to say about their abilities.  But when we did get negative feedback, it was almost always about how the new employees were too big for their britches.  Or that they were already eyeing the corner offices.

    When I was fifteen, I worked at an orchard hoeing strawberries, and most of my coworkers were day laborers.  A couple of teachers worked there, too, earning a little extra cash for the summer.  I made a comment to my dad about the job being beneath those teachers.  (I guess I was implying that the job was beneath me, too.)  My dad gave me the tongue-lashing of a lifetime.  He believed manual labor was beneath no one.  He said he’d prefer that I worked hard and became the best ditch-digger in the world rather than coasting along as a self-impressed elitist behind a desk.  I went back into that strawberry field and I still didn’t like the job.  But I had heard my dad’s words.  I watched my attitude and I hoed a little harder.

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Romans 12:3 — For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  

Romans 12:16 — Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.

Colossians 3:23-24 — Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:17 — And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.   

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A MEALTIME PRAYER by Walter Rauschenbusch:  Our Father, you are the final source of all our comforts and to you we render our thanks for this food.  But we also remember in gratitude the many men and women whose labor was necessary to produce it, and who gathered it from the land and from the sea for our sustenance.  Grant that they too may enjoy the fruit of their labor without want, and may, together with us, be in a fellowship of thankful hearts.  Amen.