Working for the Lord

by Elouise

I gave this slightly tongue-in-cheek yet totally earnest devotional at a faculty meeting in April 2000. It’s about the way I want to work.  I wrote it because I was struggling with boundaries.  Too much work, too little time, too many unresolved issues on my desk, all on top of my desire to please everybody even though it meant ignoring reality.  Only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.

The devotional offered a way to tell the truth about my work, my identity and my ultimate loyalty.  It was also an opportunity to exercise a bit of faith.

Working for the Lord

I’m working for the Lord,
Not for the seminary Dean—
His work is never done.
Not for the seminary President—
His work is never done.
Not for my faculty colleagues—
My work with them is never done.
Not for my students—
My work with them is never done.
Not for myself—
God knows this woman’s work is never done.

I’m working for the Lord
Whose work will be done and has been done;
Whose work has been finished and rested from–more than once.
God finished the work of creation
and rested on the Sabbath;
Jesus finished the work God sent him to do,
and was laid to rest in a tomb.

I’m one of many participating in God’s work;
Followers, not CEOs.
It’s not up to me to get the work done;
It’s up to God–
working in, through and often apart from me–
and all the rest of us.

I’m working for the Lord.
This doesn’t mean doing my duty, working harder, working faster, or working smarter.
It means trusting that what I do here day by day
will somehow participate in God’s work.
It means making plans, taking small steps, making choices and following through
even though I don’t know the outcome,
or how my work might participate in God’s work.

I stop working for the Lord
when I become anxious about outcomes,
try to manipulate things to my advantage,
use words to mask my true intentions,
or obsess about yesterday or about tomorrow–
neither of which are mine to live in.

Thanks be to God–
Sometimes God saves me from myself!
Other times God lets me fall into the consequences of my need to control,
my need to relieve my anxiety about how things will work out,
and whether the outcome will benefit me.
I become like the wicked who fall into the pit
they dug for someone else.

* * *

Psalm 131:  A Prayer of Humble Trust

Lord, I have given up my pride
And turned away from my arrogance.
I am not concerned with great matters
Or with subjects too difficult for me.
Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms,
So my heart is quiet within me.
Israel, trust in the Lord now and forever!

*  *  * * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 November 2014
Psalm 131, Today’s English Version