This morning I was reminded of a defining moment and great revelation of an important Biblical truth I had as a younger man. It happened as I worked at one of my first full-time jobs. I was fresh out of high school and got hired on as a brick-layer’s ‘tender’ (because we tend to the needs of the brick-layer). It was hard work; digging ditches, stacking block and brick, building and scaling scaffolding, mixing mortar, cleaning up after the job, and making sure the brick-layer never had to stop – everything should be at his finger tips…and if it was not, wow did I get it! I was also taught never to waist a step; carry as much block and brick as possible, make every trip efficient, and it was best to run (as a matter of fact, if my boss saw me walking he would throw something at me and yell ‘run Miguel run’…not sure why he used the Spanish version of my name, but I ran!). Oh yes, and I could never stop moving. If I ever ran out of things to do I was to clean the tools, clean the truck, clean the mixer, I had to keep moving! Like I said, it was hard work but I did learn how to work efficiently and how to work hard.
But this was not the defining moment and great revelation I was reminded of this morning. This moment came months into my slavery, I mean job, as a tender. See, I was working hard; digging faster, running from place to place, mixing mud (mortar) well, making sure my boss was all set to do his job, and putting out great effort. Yet, I never got a “thank you”, or “well done”, or “you’re doing great”, or “wow you are working so hard, good job”, and I was getting a little frustrated. It seemed if I busted my rear, I heard nothing, yet if I stepped out of line, here came the yells. Finally, out of frustration I complained and kind of lit into my boss that I felt unappreciated, devalued, and my efforts went unnoticed.
My boss’ response was where this defining moment came. He calmly asked me if I received my paycheck last week. I said yes, and was thinking he was going to say it was my last. He asked if I had received my paycheck the week before. I said yes. “And before that?”, again I said yes. Then he said, “You are doing your job. You are doing what is expected of you. That is your thanks, your appreciation, and your value to the company.” He went on, “If you want more, then go beyond what you are already obligated to do, beyond what is expected.”
So I did, I started to think ahead of each job and every morning I would arrive early to his house, load the truck, get the equipment ready and even feed and entertain his little daughter at breakfast so he could take his time getting ready. I began to work even harder, learned to be more efficient, learned new skills so we could expand the business. I even waxed the mixer, washed the truck, and brought lunch for the two of us. And yes, the praises came.
This morning I read Luke 17:7-10…where Jesus says:
7“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”
I was reminded that living life God’s way, following His commandments, doing what the Bible says we should do or not do, is not beyond what is expected. It’s my duty and my obligation. Yet if I really love my Master, my Lord, I would go beyond the obligation and out of love, serve Him with all the effort and energy I can.
My relationship with the Lord and this boss changed that day, I began to serve out of love not obligation. What about you?? Something to think about.
Seeking to Live with Love beyond Obligation with you,
P.S. That boss is a good friend and I truly loved working for him.