I have worked for alot of people in my life. When I was a Youth Pastor parents used to think that I worked for them, that my job was to give their kids Religion. When I became a graphic designer the client just assumed that I worked for them to-by moving pixels on a computer screen to their benefit. I adopted a similar attitude with those I came in contact with whether they pumped my gas, cut my hair or took out my wisdom teeth.
Recently my attitude has changed. I have come to realize that when a waitress is serving me in a restaurant and screws up my order or isn’t as polite as she could be, maybe this is an opportunity. There is a great quote by Ian MacLaren that says “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” What if I had considered her a co-worker, then I would believe that she is helping me eat by giving me food, and if I pay her for her help, I’m helping give her food. As a graphic designer I learned to help clients realize that I don’t work for them but I work with them. They help me earn a living and in turn I will help them image their cause. We work in tandem and there is no power struggle.
What would it be like if we changed our attitudes about this? What would the world be like if we considered others ‘sojourners’ in this life. That when a mechanic is serving me by fixing my car, that I can serve him with my attitude not just my money. I recently had problems with my toilet, it wasn’t serving me properly. So I took it upon myself to fix it. Two bolts in-and I realized I was over my head. So I called someone else to come and fix it. It turned out that someone had flushed a plastic horse down my toilet and it got stuck. So when he took the bowl off there was this horse staring at us amidst his pasture. That day I had a new appreciation for what this man had done. You see, while he was in my house helping me with my shit, we talked and joked and as it turned out I helped him with his. We were sojourners that day, both wanting the same thing-to get rid of the stuff clogging our lives.
I used to think that to be a follower of Jesus was to do the work of God. I was taught and imagined a daily list of things I must do in order to be considered under God’s employ. But if you closely examine the Jesus of the Gospels we don’t discover such lists. In fact we discover that God didn’t come to give us more work, but instead to change the way we already word. I have come to discover that it is in the daily mundane tasks of living that God is at work bringing about beauty and hope. In this view there are really no vocations that are more spiritual or Holy than others. The truth is that all vocations when lived with the desire to make the world a better place are vocations under the employ of God.
I have more recently adopted this idea with this life. As a follower of Jesus, I don’t merely work for God in all I do, I have learned that I actually work ‘with’ God. I need to go out and find were he is and join him. And since God is everywhere that would include where I find myself everyday. I need to look for where God is in my daily grind, because I can be sure of one thing, God comes shows up for his great work everyday. When God chose to come down and show us what Love looks like with sandals on, he came as one ‘with’ us. That is the point of the incarnation. He sojourned with humanity. Jesus asked people to follow him, to come ‘with’ him. In his absence he now comes ‘with’ us and we ‘discover’ him and join him. This has changed my attitude.
So next time you find yourself paying someone to serve you, realize this could actually be an opportunity to serve them. Maybe in the end your both looking for the same thing.
And wouldn’t it be a funny thing if we could only find it together.
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