Apr 12, 2010

The High Calling of Our Daily Work ®


Howard Butt tells this story: "A friend of mine had a flat tire and stopped at a country gas station. The attendant patched the tire and put it back on the car. And as the fellow tightened the last lug nut, my friend heard him say, 'Another good job done by me.' "

In another encouragement he tells us, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that if a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”

Routine work in its unspectacular ordinariness, like fixing tires or sweeping streets, is foundational to the message of TheHighCalling.org. We talk about the audio spots as sixty-second encouragements to people in their daily work. These are not usually stories of the spectacular, although those do have their place. Most of the stories are ordinary people in the ordinary circumstances of life, which can encourage us all in the commonplace efforts of our day-to-day work.

Here’s a breakdown of what we mean when we say, “The high calling of our daily work.”

It’s “daily,” so we begin with a sense of routine. What we do each and every day builds on itself and carries us closer to our goal or further from it. Like raising a child, incremental steps lead to the full development of the child into a flourishing adult, which is similiar to our daily routines at work. We don't necessarily see results day to day, but decades later the fruits of that daily effort are clear.

With “work,” we use a broad definition. Work encompasses the regular activities of daily life. It’s where we apply our daily efforts and toil. With that understanding, it allows our readers and authors considerable latitude in understanding and communicating about daily life and work.

The “high calling” piece calls us beyond ourselves. It connects work with God. How does Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit, inform and sustain us in our daily labor? What we do every day matters to God. We are created to please God.

The word “our” connects work with high calling. Relationships matter. It’s not the high calling of “your” daily work or “my” daily work. We use “our” daily work. The relational element provides us the opportunity to share experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc. We are connected to one another as God’s creatures. In heart, soul, and mind, we belong to Jesus.