It comes to no surprise to me that zombie movies and TV shows have become phenomenally popular in recent years. Look around. People are so busy, the world we live in is starting to look like a zombie apocalypse. Everyone is marching forward as fast as they can, eyes fixed straight ahead, as if the only thing on their mind is the satisfaction they will have when they indulge in flesh. It’s eerily true that so many in our communities are out to indulge in flesh. The only difference is, it’s their own flesh they are out to indulge in, meaning their own selfish desires are what they think brings them satisfaction.
I think the “successful career” is the most prominent selfish desire in the world today. I catch myself in this very same focus more often than I’d like to admit, thinking, ‘Woe, is me. My job is not _____. I don’t get paid ____. My work is so _______.’ It’s likely that you have filled in those blanks plenty of times as well. My friend’s employer sends out daily newsletters, which she shares with me because each one includes a very practical prayer. Today’s fit my attitude perfectly. I got up on the wrong side of the bed, and I was throwing myself an all-out pity party. I open her email and read, “…Expand our perception of the good things that life holds. Decrease our fear of not having enough, being enough, doing enough, growing enough. Amen – Joyce Rupp.” After reading this I quickly wrote my friend back and told her the prayers are always so timely. She wrote me back saying, “Me too. When I read that I breathed out a ‘lil of the sadness I was feeling and let in joy!”
Our success is not determined by the number of zeros on our paycheck or how many ladder rungs we climbed to get to the top. Our success is determined by the amount of compassion, willingness, and hard work we put into the work we do today. Colossians 3 says, “Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord…” Would people in your workplace say, “Wow! You are such a cheerful and hardworking person. You show a lot of integrity”? Or would they run the other way knowing you only have complaints or harsh criticisms to share? When is the last time you looked a client/customer/coworker in the eye and smiled genuinely, saying “Good morning”?
Instead of pushing ourselves forward with glassy flesh-craving eyes or eyes that say “I’m drowning and I haven’t slept in 6 days” perhaps we can focus on the real work, which is pleasing our Heavenly Father today. It does matter if we fall short of our employer’s expectations because it is up to them if we stay or go, but when we work for the Lord we earn favor from Him and that will grant us a lot more “success” than a million sleepless nights worrying about a life and career that scripture tells us is really just a vapor that appears and then vanishes. How will you spend your vapor?
You slaves must always obey your earthly masters, not only trying to please them when they are watching you but all the time; obey them willingly because of your love for the Lord and because you want to please him. Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for. And if you don’t do your best for him, he will pay you in a way that you won’t like—for he has no special favorites who can get away with shirking. – Colossians 3:22-24
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