Friday, July 22, 2011

Working for the Lord

Something about growing up in a church where the heroes are martyrs and missionaries, and the Lord is the Lamb of God who not only laid down his life in ransom for us, but also suffered humiliation and torture to go with it, makes someone blessed with faith as a child wonder, "What can I do for Him?"

I started college as a Psychology major only to switch to business, Management Information Systems, because it was going to be important to be making money after four years at Notre Dame (85-89), even if the tuition was a small fraction of what it is now.  As I entered the work world, as a programmer analyst, I was finding a problem reconciling spending long hours programming on a green screen with serving Christ.

By my third job, 4.5 years out of school, I was working on a gal's computer one night when I noticed she had this verse hanging just past her computer monitor on the wall of her cubicle.

Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24

It was good motivation working for the family, the future children my husband and I were hoping to have, but this was much better motivation!  I didn't have to be doing mission work, working as a physician, or living as a nun to serve Christ the Lord.  Instead
whatever  my work was could be worked at with my heart as it was Christ the Lord that I was serving.

I stopped by her cube the next day and she happened to have a duplicate of the verse to give me.

This wasn't the most profound learning, I suppose.  It did give me a great deal of strength and determination giving meaning to the tasks I was doing.  It hung in my cube for many years after that, and I still have it.

I think it would have saved many years of wasted opportunities if I had also gained an understanding back in my twenties or earlier of the Mystical Body of Christ.  The chance meetings with believers and potential believers throughout the day are potentially much more of an opportunity to serve Christ the Lord than the work itself.  Of course this applies not just to the workplace, but everywhere we encounter people throughout the day.  From the people inside our own house, on our street, the teachers and kids at the daycare, the people in line with us at the supermarket, and the cashier and bagger too.

Jesus tells us, "
You did not choose me, but I chose you . . . to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last."  John 15:16

Jesus tells us, "
Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God."  Revelation 3:2

These are two very strong calls from Christ our Savior, our King, and our Lord.  We need to strengthen what remains in us--our mind needs to be filled with the knowledge of Our God and what is essential to loving and serving him.  We need to strengthen the Church, the body of Christ, bearing
fruit that will last.

Every day we wake up we have so many unexpected chances to receive and give love to Our Lord.  Whether or not someone has the love and comfort they need from our God  in the form of human touch, caring depends on us remaining in Jesus as the branches on the Vine we need to be.  This gal in the cube, remained in him, and had a small quiet verse she never spoke aloud that 
helped me find meaning in the mundane.  

Of course it also is evidence of this verse:

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11

Loving Him in those we meet, and loving others with the love Christ has given us.  Loving because we were first loved by Him!  Loving with our words, kind gestures, our prayers, and our attempts to nurture each other on the way to heaven. 

Other people have helped me at work.  Some have given me a couple of ibuprofen when I had a headache.  Others have helped me by working early, late, or both so together we could be successful.  This gal giving me this little verse was her bearing fruit that will last.  I don't know if I'll see her again on this side of eternity, but I have hope to see and thank her and Praise God with her when we see Christ in his Glory!

She is not the only one, but I am trying to watch the length of this post (unlike on my blog).  Those that gave me ibuprofen, or brought me water or coffee when I was on crutches, or bought little outfits or toys for my young children, or lunch when I was pregnant, or made me oatmeal and tea for breakfast because I needed to have a nice way of starting my day, were all loving me with Christ's love.  They also were bearing fruit that would last because they taught me to see the beautiful souls around me and get my myopic self past the task, to see why Christ loves us all so much and the huge privilege to be part of his mystical body.

Of course there are those that do serve Christ in his Mystical Body as consecrated nuns, so perfectly dependent on their Savior that Christ living in them shines for all the world to see!

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The Liturgy of the Hours often includes the most helpful scriptures to give us brief meditations to sanctify or day.  Colossians 3:23-24 was the afternoon reading yesterday.  I noticed it comes up frequently with the mid-morning and noon readings.  Since I depend on the convenience of Universalis website there is probably a reason for this that I don't understand.  

There are other readings that I noticed repeat as the "Sext", "Terse", and "Afternoon" readings that are also some of the most key verses in the Bible, handbook for living that it is, that teach us how to remain in Christ and live each moment for Him, letting him love in us, bearing fruit that will last.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 Corinthians 10:24,31 
Nobody should be looking for his own advantage, but everybody for the other man’s. Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God.

Noon reading (Sext)Colossians 3:17 
Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Afternoon reading (None)Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving.


  1. Great post Colleen.Sometimes it is hard to remember that it is God who we ultimately work for, especially on the secular world. I often think of St Joseph and Jesus Himself~in their earthly lives they spent much of their time as simple carpenters.
    St Jose Maria Escriva also has much to say on the topic of the sanctity of work within whatever our state in life might be. Everything is grace or at least has the potential to be.
    God bless.

  2. Colleen,
    This is an excellent post on the sanctity of everyday life and the myriad ways we interconnect and touch each others lives. When I think back to my past I see how things or words that I thought were insignificant back then were actually moments of grace and God using others to touch me. Thank you, Colleen - this is a very insightful post.

  3. After reading your post, I am feeling so lucky to be Catholic and a part of the Mystical Body where we have such great examples of how to live a holy life in all that we do. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, this can become habit forming! :)