“Make every common task shine with the radiance of Christ. Then every moment becomes a shiny glory moment to be cherished- whether you drink tea or try to get the verb forms of the new language.“
The above quote is from The Heart of a Servant Leader (page 22), a collection of letters written by the Presbyterian pastor Jack Miller. This specific quote is pulled from a letter written to a missionary wife who spent most of her days doing mundane tasks for a high purpose. The reason that it holds a special place in my heart is that I find laundry to be a singularly inglorious task. The idea of a moment of laundry-folding becoming “a shiny glory moment” is about the most super-natural thought that’s ever entered my mind.
In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
There’s something holy and glorious about work for the believer. We aren’t just working for our supervisors. We’re working for Christ (Ephesians 6:5-8). Well before the fall in Genesis 3, humans worked. We were made to work and to serve God through our work. When we’re doing what God has called us to do the way that He has called us to do it, work is a way of experiencing the pleasure and glory of God in our lives.
I experience God’s pleasure when I compose an exceptional sentence. I have experienced God’s glory in my work as a personal trainer when I’ve treated a fearful gym-goer as an image-bearer and watched his or her fear melt into joy and excitement. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a particularly spiritual experience while doing laundry, but hey! Some things just have to get done.
So, what do you do if you never experience God’s glory and pleasure in your work? What if it always feels like “just work”? I would encourage you to consider a few glory-suckers that may be getting in the way.
1. You’re concentrating more on your earthly bosses than your heavenly King.
This is my biggest struggle when working as an employee. I have often found my joy level ebbing and flowing with my boss’s mood and approval of my work. My husband would ask if I had a good day, and my answer would rely almost completely on my supervisor’s responses to me.
But there were days when my focus wasn’t on my earthly boss. Those were invariably better days. The days when my focus was on worshipping Christ through my work, the work became glorious. I loved clients better. I delighted in their achievements more. I saw the beauty of God’s creation in them and in my work. I knew that He delighted in them, so I did too. I knew that He saw my work and approved, so I felt His pleasure in my faithfulness. It didn’t depend on my bosses. It depended on my focus.
2. You seek to find justification in your work rather than in Christ.
This is an especially tempting desire in our society. We’re defined by our work. We introduce ourselves by our profession. I’ve heard more than a few people (men and women) apologize for their jobs as they introduce themselves. (“I’m Hannah. I’m just a stay at home mom.” or “I’m Fred, and I just work retail.)
You are not defined by your job, whether it’s powerful and prestigious or humble and mundane. You are defined completely by the finished work of Christ. When you stand before the Lord God, He won’t just see how many sales you made, how much money you earned, or how respected you were by your peers. He won’t question your significance according to how grand of a platform your career built. He will see His child, perfectly redeemed through the work of His Son. He will see His image, polished and shined through the power of His Word at work in us (Ephesians 5:26-27). If you’re trying to earn God’s delight through your work, you won’t find it. But once you find God’s delight through His Son, you’ll find His delight in everything you do.
3. You’re not considering Christ away from work.
Jack Miller gives us the secret to discovering God’s glory in our everyday tasks: “Getting the glory of Christ before your eyes and keeping it there- is the greatest work of the Spirit that I can imagine. And there is no greater peace, especially in times of treadmill-like activity, than doing it all for the glory of God.”
If you’re not seeing God’s glory at work, you’re probably not beholding His glory away from work. God’s glory is active and shining. Like light, it presses through the darkness around it and shines into every corner. There isn’t a shadow that can hide from His goodness. If you’re beholding Him on the cross, resurrected, and working in His people every day, you won’t be able to escape His glory at work. You’ll see it in your co-workers, in the tasks that fill your hours, and in His little gifts of grace throughout the day. Every moment can truly become “a shining glory moment to be cherished.” Maybe even moments doing laundry.