“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
— Matthew [5:16]
HARD WORK THAT INSPIRES
I had just completed my book proposal and sent it off to my agent. I was proud of my hard work and was sure that this was going to be an easy path. John, my agent, is a kind man and very thoughtful. But his response back was not what I had expected; he felt I had to work harder. The e-mail was enlightening and revealing. It stated: “Excellent work, but here are some sample proposals you might want to look at.” I opened up the Word files and looked at the samples. At once, I saw why mine fell short. In the samples, I saw a little more depth, a little more work, and a better product. But I had been so sure that mine was perfect. That all my hard work was the best it could be. I hadn’t considered the reader. My work didn’t inspire, it was just okay.
“They reminded me that the goal wasn’t just to work hard. It was to consider my customer and to give glory to God.”
After a few moments of self-pity, I began to think. How kind of John to send me a present. I am sure he felt I had worked hard, but the samples showed me I could work harder. The samples shed light on where I could improve. They moved me from self-pity to being inspired. They gave me confidence. They reminded me that the goal wasn’t just to work hard. It was to consider my customer and to give glory to God. Using the samples, I rewrote the proposal with a different attitude. Not an attitude to prove I was the best and could work hard, but an attitude that my work was to be complete. To remember that my job was to inform and be accurate. To remember that the work wasn’t for my glory, but for God’s. With this new attitude, I completed a second proposal. The one that eventually got accepted by my publisher.
“Jesus reminds us that when we work, our goal is to inspire others and to give glory to God. That our work is sacred.”
Today’s passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’s introductory sermon on living a faithful life. Jesus reminds us that when we work, our goal is to inspire others and to give glory to God. That our work is sacred. That our work isn’t to show how good we are, but to be a shining example for others. He wants us to be great, but with a different purpose than our thinking too highly of ourselves. We work for two reasons. The first is to inspire and help others. The second is to honor and give glory to God. I have found that when I take this attitude, my work goes smoother. It seeps into my effort. Others see that this is my goal. It makes what I do be received with acceptance.
“Any work that is meant to help others and gives glory to God has sacred value.”
Hard work is important. It is better than plans that are left undone. But hard work whose purpose is to help someone else is more meaningful. It makes our businesses stronger. Our customers will notice this subtle difference. The attitude seeps into our work and becomes the light of that work. Hard work that is done with thought of giving glory to God inspires us to not miss any detail. It makes our work more sacred. It makes us try harder. We are doing our work in a holy manner. Any work that is meant to help others and through our efforts give glory to God has sacred value. Like John’s samples, it serves to inspire.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
Who do we work for?
Do we work harder when our work is for someone else and for God?