Working With All Your Heart
I spoke to a group of review students for the upcoming accounting board exams (it will happen on October). I figured out that, given they pass the boards, they will soon find a work and get employed. With this in mind, I decided to motivate them for the workplace. It’s best that as early as now, they prepare themselves for work. Anyway…
Two weeks ago, I went to Starbucks with a friend. At the coffee shop, there were paintings and picture frames hanging on the wall. A frame caught my attention. There’s a statement in it which read:
We bring you the finest beans the world has to offer. Then we roast each bean to perfection in the pursuit of exceptional coffee.
Immediately, I realized that this is Starbucks’ commitment to their customers. Take note of the words finest, perfection, and exceptional. The frame beside it also caught my attention:
The same exceptional care goes into your beverage. One moment, one person, one cup at a time. And the world’s best coffee at the heart of every cup.
After reading the statements, I asked myself, “Are these true?” As a long-time customer of Starbucks, instantly my answer was Yes!
Every time I go to the coffee shop, I know that the finest beans are perfectly brewed in order to give me an exceptional coffee. It feels as if all employees of Starbucks, from barristas to managers, give their lives to their work in order to make me satisfied. Starbucks is committed only to give what is finest, perfect, exceptional, and best to their customers. Starbucks is committed to excellence.
Working With All Your Heart
This principle of Starbucks reflects a principle in the Bible. It is found in Colossians 3:22-24 (NIV 1984). Let’s pay careful attention to every verse.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything…
This command is given to slaves. Nowadays, slaves don’t exist (at least in our country). But slaves are comparable to employees of the modern day. So this command is for anyone working for an organization or for someone else. Slaves, or employees, should obey their superiors in everything.
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
In whatever an employee does, he must work at it with all his heart. Now, the word heart (psuche) can be translated as life (also soul). We can find this in other parts of the Bible. Some examples are:
25For whoever would save his life [psuche] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [psuche] for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25, NIV1984)
28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life [psuche] as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28, NIV1984)
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul [psuche] and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37, NIV1984)
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life [psuche] for the sheep. (John 10:11, NIV1984)
3Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life [psuche] for his friends. (John 15:13, NIV1984)
So the Bible tells us that whatever we do, we must work at it with all our heart, giving our lives to it. We must work, giving only what is finest, exception, excellent. Remember the Starbucks principle?
Working for the Lord and Working for Men
There’s a big difference between working for the Lord and working for men. When we work for men, we sometimes work only when their eyes are on us (v.22). When we work for men, we sometimes work just to please them (v.22, “win their favor”). When we work for men, sometimes we are not rewarded accordingly (v.25).
But when we work for the Lord, we work with “sincerity of heart,” working hard even when our superior’s eyes are not looking on us (v.22). When we work for the Lord, we work with “reverence for the Lord” (v.22), giving only what is excellent. When we work for the Lord, we will be rewarded accordingly (v.24). It may not be here on earth, but definitely in heaven.
24…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
We must be reminded that when we work, we are not just working for our supervisors, or managers, or bosses; we are working for Jesus Christ. Thus, we must work with all our hearts, giving our lives to it.
A Janitress Named Emma
Before I end, I want to share the story of a woman named Emma Gray.
Emma Daniel Gray (1914-2009) was a cleaner at the White House. Officially called charwoman, Gray worked at the White House for 24 years, serving six presidents. Each night she went to the president’s chair, pause while cleaning materials were at her hands, and say a quick prayer. She would pray for blessings, wisdom, and safety for each of the presidents. She was a committed Christian.
She once worked for a handful of government agencies. She was transferred to the White House in 1955 because of “her working habits and excellent work,” said Lillie Collins, who was one of her daughters. “It wasn’t just her work, it was her character.”
Gray was a woman who worked with all her heart, who gave her life to her work. She may be just a cleaner, but she worked “for the Lord, not for men.” She was serving the Lord Jesus.
So let us be like her, giving her life to her work.