This Christmas I took a part-time retail job to help pay for Christmas expenses. I had worked retail years ago when I was in high school, college, and after college so I knew what I was getting into. My last retail gig 20 years ago was as a store manager. I made the schedule, told people what to do, and ran the show. It’s a little different when you are the minor player in a large establishment. I am a peon.
I am okay with this fact (mostly). If someone asks a question I can’t answer, I can call the manager. If someone gets upset, I can call the manager. My responsibilities are minimal and so is my paycheck. I was fine with low pay and low responsibilities for a while, until the ten-year-old night manager started barking orders.
I realize he is a little older than ten, but he still has a flip up haircut and bright, expectant eyes of youth. At first, I was upset when he asked me to clean the bathroom the first night I had to close and I was offended when he had me grab carts out of the cold lot. But then it occurred to me that this was exactly what I had signed up for. I was the low man on the totem pole, and I had the paycheck to prove it.
I wondered why I felt offense at being asked to do my job, and I realized that it was the age of the kid who was making the request. My ego was interfering with my servant attitude. I can’t have it both ways. I can’t be free from the responsibilities of management and free from the burdens of the laborer. I can’t resent the twenty-year-old boy for placing the onerous task of cleaning the bathroom on me instead of the eighteen-year-old clerk that closed with me. Guys are guys, and it is part of the job.
How many times do we look at the task set before us and resent the job we are given? Sometimes you have to scrub a few toilets in life, you just do. And it was ridiculous of me to begrudge bathroom duty just because I am older, wiser, etc. than the people who work with me. The Lord calls us to be servants to one another and not think that we are better than those around us. My ego was an unreasonable stumbling block that evening.
I had to make a choice, willful pride and a half-assed job, or diligent work that would probably go unnoticed, but would please my God. I chose the latter. I scrubbed that grubby little bathroom with joy in my heart that I had a job. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
I have worked as a maid before, and always thought through that verse when I labored so I would do the best job possible for the people I served. I have worked in so many different jobs of varying skill and responsibility levels over the years that it is dizzying, some were fairly lucrative some not, but none of that matters if my heart is in the wrong place. God doesn’t care what you do or what you earn if you do it with all your heart.
The myriad of part-time jobs I have held over the years so I could be at stay-at-home mom when my kids were home from school have taught me that the way we labor is just as important as the title we hold. I have worker for millionaire bullies and struggling saints. God sees our heart and knows our motivation.
Whenever my servant heart is challenged this week by the crush of holiday shoppers, I will remember this verse. And, when I am asked to clean another bathroom, I will happily tell junior, “No Problem!”
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.