Another insight from the ranks of the military.
I was teaching and discussing the difference between work-life and lifework in the small group I lead and facilitate. We were concentrating on the need for and the lack of a strong work culture and ethic among Christians today. Not so long ago, Christians had the reputation of being good, dependable, committed workers and were the surest bet among a number of potentially eligible candidates for a post. Sadly, this not completely true today and the work world is often disgusted with the unprofessional and slipshod work of those who bear the name of Christ. We were analyzing and exploring the causes and reasons for it.
An army friend, a member of the group, spoke up and shared the following about the attitude of work inculcated in the army.
He said that if you were to motor down the lonely roads of Leh, Ladakh and other border areas, you would often find a single soldier at his post by the road, holding his flag and rifle in readiness. There wouldn’t be soul for miles around and yet he would just stand there in readiness. He wouldn’t bother to see if someone was watching him or checking on him to see if he was fine or even monitoring whether he really did his work well. He would just do what was expected of him, viz. keep watch, irrespective of the weather, lack of company or need of any thing that is normally demanded!
This, he said, was typical of any soldier in the army, irrespective of their charge. They are impacted with a sense of mission. The soldier is taught that because he stood at his post, alone on that lonely road, people back home slept in peace. His faithful watch ensured the rest and contented tranquility of his countrymen. His fearless holding of the ground caused the women and children of the nation to live in quiet confidence. It was his alert vigilance on that lonely road enabled the nation function effectively and carry on its business as usual. As he shouldered his assignment in perfect willingness, his land participated without hindrance in the day-to-day affairs of the world it was part of. It was this sense of the importance of one’s task, whatever be be the rank and post, that helped the army maintain discipline and order among its men or women.
What a lesson to learn, I thought to myself, as we seek to live as Christians in this world! One of the greatest way by which Christians can develop a good work ethic and culture today is to have a sense of mission and a grasp of the big picture we/they are part of. We are often so caught up with the mundane daily tasks of general living, that we tend lose focus. We feel hopeless, helpless, hapless and often just endure but not enjoy life. We need to see ourselves the way He sees us, as co-labourers and partners together with Him in the smooth functioning of His world, the accomplishing of His will and the ushering in of His Kingdom on earth.
Once we grasp this, our outlook on and of life will change drastically and dramatically. Once we understand deep in our heart that we are really after all about His business, irrespective of our station in life, we will face each day with excitement and confront each problem with zest. Once we realize every work we do, irrespective of how small or big it is, as long as it is intrinsically good in itself, contributes to His working on this earth, we will be transformed and rejuvenated, daily! Once we catch this sense of mission, we will work with a sense of purpose, a sense of direction and a sense of worth!
We must know, understand and be convinced that, however small or big, high or low, narrow or wide our portion in life is, every task, work, role, ministry we do contributes to the making up a whole. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you are placed in life, but it matters how you live and do everything in life.
Our work and life ethic as Christians must needs be representative of our King and His Kingdom. We cannot ape or copy the standards currently prevailing in an IT sector or a government institution or a corporate company or even a religious Christian organization. Our values must be calibrated to the Biblical principles and Kingdom values.
A sense of mission, like that of a soldier, is a key to developing a fittingly appropriate and fascinatingly intriguing ethic that will ensure life here and now is wonderfully exciting. After all, we are enjoined by the eminent Apostle Paul to be faithful and diligent as soldiers (II Tim 2:3-4)!