Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.
Most of us have read Romeo and Juliet. If not, most of us are at least aware of Shakespeare’s tragedy where two star-crossed lovers can’t be together. In preparing for another year of teaching, I am reminded of this quote by the young man. It’s time to go back to school, and not everyone is excited.
To be clear, I am overjoyed to dive into another year of instruction, exploration, and inspiration. I love what I do. When I look at the lines of this play and realize what Romeo is saying, I understand the plight of many in the workforce around the country… they might not love what they do. See, for those of us who have found our calling, our true joy is glorifying God through our work.
This month I’d like to encourage those who may feel they are going through the motions at work. To the laborer patiently waiting for a promotion, the waiter or waitress looking for a better job, to the teacher who has lost the spark after one too many disappointments: your work matters. Paul the Apostle encourages us in Colossians 3:23 (HCSB), “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.”
Just as Romeo was looking forward to the end goal, which made the process much more enjoyable, we must look forward to giving our best effort as an offering to the Lord which makes every job honorable. Many of my students wrestle with the idea that the tedious tasks, rigorous writing, and difficult discussions are a means to an end. When we look at each day as a struggle, it reduces our efforts to a meaningless column of wins and losses. Life should not be viewed as an exam with punishing tasks. Life is an adventure novel, in which we know the ending! The Author and finisher of our faith has designated our triumphant journey.
If you feel that you are in a job that you don’t love, then work hard for the One who loves you. If you feel like your work is mundane, then find excitement knowing each day is an offering to the Master. If you feel like trade work isn’t as glorious as white-collar labor, remember that a carpenter became the King of Glory.
I hope to encourage you today, as the Bible does when it reminds us, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) Even Christ had a tough task ahead of Him, but when he thought of those He loved it was a joyous job.
Be blessed and encouraged!