Seeking to Do the Lord’s Work

A seminary dean is inspired by a grocery clerk to look at his vocation in a new light.

by - Posted on Aug 29, 2012

Jeffrey Japinga

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…–Romans 12:6 (NIV)

I was at one of those large gatherings, in a room filled with people you know only by their name tags. When I asked a woman I’d just met one of the typical questions we all ask in settings like that–“What do you do?”–I expected a typical response in return.

But that’s not what I got.

She smiled and said quietly, “I bring hope to people who are hurting.”

With a little more digging, I got the answer I originally expected: She was a clerk in a grocery store. But she didn’t see her job simply as a job. It was also a way to use the gifts of hospitality and love God had given her to help make the world a better place.

And so, she said, she paid special attention to people who looked sad or careworn, and intentionally offered them a simple word of kindness. “I think it makes a difference,” she said.

What do I do? I’m a seminary dean, and with the academic year just starting, I’ve got a to-do list the length of my arm. If we met today, I could tell you all about that, and you could tell me your job title and functions too.

But because someone recently gave me an answer I didn’t expect, it’s helped me see my work in a whole new way.

What do I do? I use my gifts of administration and teaching to help prepare people for ministry and build up the kingdom of God. It doesn’t make my to-do list any shorter, but it does make it more compelling.

This Labor Day, why not ask yourself: What larger work has God called me to do? Then look for it.

Bless the work of our hands, Lord, that it may always bring you glory.

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