“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
He’s been out of steady work since the economy tanked a few years back. He’s got six kids to raise on his own, every single one of them teenagers. And he paints houses.
His work is his ministry, and he finds great joy in donning pain spattered whites, climbing ladders and spraying color into people’s worlds. He blasts Christian music on his radio and shares the love of Jesus with everyone he meets. He calls what he does God’s Work.
I guess he never got the memo that a blue collar laborer’s job was something he should dread. He doesn't seem to understand that he has every right to whine about the many discomforts and instabilities of his employment. The paycheck is far less than steady, but this man of integrity refuses cash under the table for the side jobs he does. Instead, he does it to serve. And, he will tell you, God always provides.
Working beside him (and I use the term “working” loosely—he worked circles around me) made me think of my own job in a new light. I say I serve joyfully, but do I really? Is my passion for my duty contagious? Has anyone observed me on the job and considered switching careers because my work made me that happy?
I’m a mom. I have, hands down, the best job on the planet. My little people are awesome, and I adore them. I also snap at them, brush them off because I have something better to do, and look forward to breaks from being in their presence. If my attitude is contagious, it’s in the negative sense. I try. I really do. I work at parenting intentionally. I confess my shortcomings and employment strategies for improvement, but I still fail.
I’m sure the man who painted our house has bad days too, but what a witness. What an inspiration! The work itself does not fulfill the man, rather the servant’s heart with which he approaches is it does.
So I should not look to laundry, shoe tying lessons, taxi services, menu preparation, or potty training to fulfill me. God will do that when I selflessly serve.
I’ve seen it in action now, and it was a humbling sight to behold. I hope you will join me in looking at today as a chance to do God’s Work in whatever we do.