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 | By Tim Ryan

Working for the Fulfillment of Others

How Do We Maintain the Spirit of Service?

Carol says: I came to work this morning and there was trash on the floor again from where the custodian emptied my waste basket. He didn’t bother to pick up what was missed. My credenza hasn’t been dusted in weeks. What do the custodians do all night? Does anyone try to do a good job anymore? It’s so frustrating when people don’t care.

Ted says: I worked in construction for many years before I was badly injured. I can’t do construction work anymore, so I had to take this job to maintain some sort of income. I filed a claim with the insurance company and somewhere in the process a clerk made an error on our claim, which is now taking months to straighten out. Does anyone care anymore?

The expert says: Admit it, we all have criticized other people for doing a poor job. Whether it’s a waiter, the school superintendent, a politician, the local road commission, our boss or a co-worker. It’s easy to see the flaws in the work of others. We have no problem accusing someone of not taking any pride in his work and just going through the motions.  Have you ever considered the impact your work has on others – whether you realize it or not?  How well do you serve the needs of others in your work?  I challenge anyone to show me a job where some human being isn’t impacted in some way.

One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s more famous quotes reads: “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.” We may not all have what we consider a glamorous or important job, and it may often get tedious and hard. Sometimes the answer is that we’re in the wrong job for the wrong reason and we need to make a change. However, more often than not, it’s simply a matter of doing our jobs better. What can you do to maintain a spirit of service in your work, and focus on doing it well?

• Ask God every morning to grant you the strength to do what he is calling you to do today.

• When a task gets tedious and you want to take a shortcut, think about the implications; who might be impacted?

• Throughout the day, turn your trials and frustrations into prayer.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).