Sometimes facing a task that seems never-ending can feel overwhelming. It may feel like the saying, “Emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.” The monotony or stress of endless work can build resentment toward the task or the people who create a need for the task.
Seeing work—whether paid or unpaid—as something negative is a way of “seeing the glass as half-empty.” It’s true that there can be a down-side to work. Most of us would likely agree that sometimes work (at home, school, workplace, or in the community) takes us away from things we would prefer to be doing, or taxes us physically, emotionally, mentally, or socially.
But there is also an up-side to work. For many of us, work leads to a paycheck, which provides income to meet our needs (and often many “wants”). Work may help us contribute to our community, build stronger or more meaningful connections to others, and grow in a variety of ways. Work is typically a sign that we are experiencing other blessings. Years ago I was doing dishes with an older lady who was very special to me. She had an incredible gift of hospitality, opening her home to aging friends and family, providing delicious meals to those who needed them, and all without any grumbling or complaining. As I put away the plates, I noticed a poem taped to the inside of her cupboard door. I wish I had a copy of that poem or could find it somewhere, (I found a similar one, which you can read here), but the gist of it was that we should be thankful for dirty dishes because it means we have food to eat. Dirty laundry means we have clothes to wear. Toys spread throughout the house (that’s what my house looks like on a daily basis thanks to my three-year-old) means we have children to delight us. Messes that need to be cleaned up in the workplace mean that we are receiving a paycheck, producing a product, accomplishing some other goal, or that we have customers that are accessing our services.
We are needed when we have time and abilities to contribute at home, school, in the workplace, and/or in the community….and when we are willing to use those to meet others’ needs. That’s job security! (Keep reading the next two weeks for two more perspectives on this topic).