Serving Nine to Five

Kathryn Tack, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | May 23, 2023

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Work has a bad rap. We grudgingly put in our time so that we can collect at the end of the week or month. The prize is all the rewards our consumer economy has to sell us. Some people consider their jobs to be chores, something to be endured in order to pay the bills.  But God designed work to be a fulfilling aspect of life, and He will help us find satisfaction in it if we let Him.  

Scripture challenges followers of Christ to raise the bar in their work, not lower the curve. It’s called serving, or some may call It servant leadership—it does not come naturally. We are born bent in the opposite direction. Instead of having a fine-tuned radar directed outward toward other people’s needs, we are usually focused on taking care of ourselves.  Then along came Jesus—the One who cast aside what was good for Himself and acted upon what was good for us. He broke the hold that self-centeredness has on all of us. Until I learn and embrace that it is not all about me, I will never enjoy the deep fulfillment and pure goodness of work where I am asked by Jesus to serve others—especially the one I can’t even comprehend serving. When I am the constant center of the universe, my world of work will always come down to a boring, empty perseverance instead of being the role model as Christ’s ambassador.

One of my favorite authors from bygone years was Barbara Johnson. She authored one of the funniest books, “Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms.”  When elastic gets overstretched, it no longer holds things in place. 

We all need “fresh elastic” these days, and Jesus offers it by helping us change our perspective. How we look at life can determine where we will find joy in our busy workdays. Joy doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to make millions of dollars to buy joy. Joy is found in thoughtfulness. Joy is found in caring. Joy is found in saying, “Thank You, God” for life and the work You have given into my hands.   

Is joy missing from your work life as you carry out your responsibilities?  Consider that God is in the business of heart change—ask Him to partner with you to change your perspective and see beyond the worldly provision to experience it as the joy of serving.

Next Steps 

You don’t have to drag yourself back to the office for another day—ask Jesus to help you to experience your work as a “service offering” to the world God created.  

Work can either be something that shrinks us down to an even more self-centered existence, or it can open us up to the larger world around us. Every job offers people of faith a stage to model servanthood. 

  1. Who is the one person you need to bring joy to this week? 
  2. Who is the one person you need to pray for?
  3. Who is the one person you find most difficult to serve? Do it anyway and see the miracles God can work in your life.
  4. What might God be speaking to you about your work? How might you experience the fullness of life Jesus offers even at work?