And now, some helpful workplace tips brought to you by the apostle Paul. No, really.
Paul said in one or more of his epistles that those who believe in Christ should work hard, do what they do as unto the Lord, etc etc. Which is true, albeit admittedly somewhat difficult to remember some days when the boss is being something decidedly less than pleasant. This duly noted, I believe we far too often completely miss his point.
Paul’s trade, with which he paid for his ministerial travels and such, was tent making. He doubtless was good at it; he had to be in order to compete with other tent makers so he might put food on whichever table he was dining at that week plus paying his own way in order to evangelize and minister throughout the known world, or at least the known world Roman Empire style. Therefore, a logical assumption is that when he was working his trade, he doubtless did it …
… in character.
One thing successful, truly successful, professional people do is learn and practice the fine art of carving out and installing within themselves an on/off switch. If we are doing it right, we are neither defined by our work nor allow our work to define us.
Oh, we do the work all right. We do it to the best of our abilities. We always analyze our performance, noting strengths and weaknesses while striving for continuous improvement. However, we also must learn and practice the immutable belief that the work is not us.
Our investment in work should be strictly limited. Our involvement in work should be at all times deliberately half-hearted. Note that the common definition of that done half-heartedly equaling that done halfway is entirely incorrect. When done properly, half-hearted is that done with strict, uncompromising mechanical precision while our heart is reserved for far greater things.
Work, when done correctly, should always be done passionately but never with passion. Passion is too precious a commodity to waste on work. It should be reserved solely for faith, for family, and for friends. The properly prioritized passionate mind and heart coordinates all activities with what truly matters – more precisely, who truly matter – as the main priority. Together, such a mind and heart develop the fine art of switching work mechanics off and on in a fraction of a heartbeat. They put into practice the gift of placing what ought to be first, well, first. A brief smile, a knowing look, a whispered moment bringing two or more people together; these things are the threads from which true life is woven. Blowing by, or off, someone because you are so tightly wound up and wrapped up in whatever it is that you are doing? Not so much.
Work done properly, and done in the correct order of priority, is done in character. Those who approach work as a method actor all-consumingly approaches any given part they play are missing the boat. Play the character of a top notch worker to the hilt, and in character produce top notch work. But learn how to internally yell cut. The shared gifts of Spirt, of life, and of love must always comes first. Always.
Find within yourself your on/off switch. Practice using it. Develop the necessary ability to instantly flip between being a skilled worker dispensing quality output and the far more important role that is not a role at all, but rather reality: one who loves and gives. Then, flip back again. The work will still be there. The human being at the other end of grace-led contact is not nearly as guaranteed.
And remember. Always, remember:
If you’re too busy …
… yes you are.