I was inspired by a recent story in the North County Times. It tells the story of Nathan Pedersen–a graduating Senior from Escondido High School. He did something absolutely remarkable in today's world: He showed up.
From Kindergarten through High School.
He didn't miss a single day. Not for illness. Not to go to Disneyland. Not to go the beach. He never missed a school day. He's the Cal Ripken of High School students, and I have great admiration for him.
"If I ever got sick, I'd just suck it up and go to school," Pedersen said. "It didn't bug me too much." He went on to say:"I never got bad grades, but I was never an 'A' student…I just figured that if I was going to show commitment to something, that this was a great example to set for people."
The principal at Escondido High School said, of Nathan Pederson, “"Here's a kid who obviously has made school a priority," Watkins said. "In our world, you can be pretty selfish. Here is a kid who has risen above, 'Oh, I didn't feel like it.' In a lot of ways, he is what we want all of our kids to do…Obviously, he is going to be successful with that kinds of work ethic. In some ways, he is kind of a throwback."
We don't laud work ethic the way we used to…or the way Scripture does. A big part of Christian work ethics is simply work ethic. We witness to Christ in our culture by simply showing up for work, and working faithfully. It's a simple witness. It's not really a loud witness. But it's a witness. However, there is still a more important reason we show up and work hard at work every day: because we work for God, not human masters (Col. 3).
When I was part of the secular work force, the difference between the worker who work diligently with a great attitude and the worker who could never be found when the lines piled up or carried around a bitter attitude was stark. That didn't change when I went into vocational ministry. There are both kinds of church leaders and all points in between. Of all people, those in ministry should understand their boss isn't really the Elders. It's God. We should know our calling is important, work consistently, diligently, with an attitude that honors Christ.
This sense of calling doesn't just apply to those in ministry. It applies to all Christians everywhere. We all have a vocation through which God manifests his work in the world. Let us work as though we believe that in fact it's God we are serving. Let's be throwbacks. Let's be the kind of people that work in such a way our employers come to admire the Christ within us. Today, as we head back to work after a Memorial Day holiday, let's keep the words of Scripture in our hearts.
I love Eugene Peterson's translation of Colossians 3:22-4:1 from The Message: “ Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn’t cover up bad work. And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven."