Abundant Living Vol. XIX, Issue 7

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

  • Colossians 3:23 

Work is something we all do, whether we are employed, self-employed, unemployed, or retired.  Most of us spend a good portion of our lives working for money to sustain ourselves and our families.  But even when not earning money we still put in full days at something, cleaning house, doing laundry, yard work, preparing meals, caring for children or the elderly, doing volunteer work – even searching for a job during a time of unemployment, that too is work.  Since the creation, God has given us work to do, and most of us, I suspect, accept that work as our lot in life.  The challenge is in finding work that is fulling for us, something that goes beyond simply earning money to put food on the table; rather work that satisfies our desire to make the best use of our God-given gifts and talents.  How is it some people find that fulfillment and others do not?

One who found such fulfillment was Eric Liddell whose amazing story is depicted in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.  Liddell, born with a God-given gift and passion for running, eventually went on to win a gold medal in the 400 meter in the 1924 Olympics.  But Eric Liddell’s fulfillment was not in winning the gold medal, nor the honor of competing in the Olympics.  His greatest fulfillment was best described in perhaps the most memorable line from the movie: “When I run,” he said, “I feel God’s pleasure.”

Easy for him to say, we might argue, he had a special talent for being swift on his feet.  Sure, he worked and trained hard to become an Olympic athlete, but few of us, no matter how hard we work could ever compete at that level.  Few are born with such special God-given gifts as his, whether they be athletic abilities, musical or artistic talents, scientific genius, business acumen, or scholarly intellect, notwithstanding that people born with such talents must also work hard to develop them.

But what about us ordinary folks with modest talent, what is the secret to finding fulfillment in our work?  First, we should take care to not mistake success, fame, or fortune with fulfillment.  Instead, we should ask ourselves, “in my work, whatever it is, where do I feel God’s pleasure?”  Then take to heart the sage advice from the Apostle Paul, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

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