Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 22, 2012

men and women must work

Last week I had the opportunity to work in the sunshine. Seventy-five degrees and sunny is always a good alternative compared to the snowy, cloudy and cold days that I usually encounter in January. But work is still work, and whether in sunshine or clouds I had my share of aggravating events. I experienced computer issues, toll-booth problems and a little food poisoning (details spared). If you were to take a few minutes and review your work schedule from last week, you would also find it easy to identify the aggravating moments. Whether you lived in sunshine or cold and cloudy, there were still the computer issues, people frustrations and too much to do. The words of this paragraph have been exactly what our emotions overwhelm us with: the negative.

During the course of most weeks, all of us will spend more time working and interacting with our colleagues than we do with our families. We spend one-third of most days at work, creating either a sanctuary or a prison. If you call yourself a Christ-follower, please allow me to offer a bit of perspective. This place you call work can be an avenue of fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. Among all of the normal aggravations that we all face each week are a myriad of opportunities to enrich the lives of others. But when our emotional triggers are pulled toward the negative, our God-intended sanctuary becomes our self-imposed prison.

Consider the words that I read just this morning. In Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado writes, “Our Wednesdays matter to him as much as our Sundays. He blurs the secular and sacred. One stay-at-home mom keeps the sign over her kitchen sink: Divine tasks performed here daily. An executive hung this plaque in her office: My desk is my altar. Both are correct. With God, our work matters as much as our worship. Indeed work can be worship. We often think of worshipping in a sanctuary. Your work place and mine can be a place where our Father is worshipped. Different perspective, but one that is true and needed just the same.

You may be asking how can I respond this way when, “my hours were cut and my pay was decreased,” or “my boss is unreasonable and everybody is miserable,” or “the workload had become totally unfair”?  Those kinds of comments and probably one hundred more, easily flow through our minds during any given week. When we allow our minds to continually focus on what’s wrong with work, we subconsciously begin to dismiss the purpose God has for us in the sanctuary of work. It is so easy for us to blend into a culture of focusing on all of the inevitable aggravations, and miss the opportunity that we have to make a difference. And make no mistake, people do watch our actions!

In his work, By the Sweat of Your Brow, Haddon Robinson quotes the words of a nineteenth-century preacher. Men and women must work. That is as certain as the sun. But we may work grudgingly or we may work gratefully. We may work as people or machines. There is no work so rude that we may not exalt it; no work so impassive that we may not breathe a soul into it; no work so dull that we may not enliven it if we understand that what we are doing is service for our Lord Jesus Christ.

This week I am back to cold, cloudy and snowy. Work, for me and for you, will have its share of frustrations, but we can choose to enjoy the sanctuary or create our prison. We won’t change bad bosses, chaotic schedules or other aggravating issues. But we can, with proper perspective, let God’s purpose be fulfilled in us. And that is far better than working in the sunshine. Have a great week!


  1. This is a great post. For the last several years I’ve been of those people that dread going to work each day, and end it feeling sapped of any energy left to to anything else. Thanks for the perspective. Debra Van..

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