Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 97: Core Commitments in Work Part 3

Another night of blogging was taken off last night as I had an unexpected visitor join us to crash at our place. A good friend from work actually. He lives in the suburbs, his wife and kids were out of town, and he's the kind of guy who needs to be around people, otherwise he goes to super dark places, like binge watching Call the Midwife. So I decided to invite him over to stay with us.

After he'd already decided to crash with us, I got a call from our realtor telling me that a house we were looking at was available for a tour after work. So, being the solid friend he is, he actually watched The Boy while The Wifey and I went to check out the place. It was literally two blocks from where we currently live and had potential. Unfortunately everyone else saw the potential and it's already under contract as of today. Oh well. On to the next!

So that's why I didn't write last night. And by the way, someone called me out on Core Commitment blog #2. She said it looked like I fell asleep mid blogging.

Yup. I did. That's actually what I was going for and I'm glad that my writing could convey exactly what was going onnnnnnnnnnnnnnn......

So this is the final installment of my short Commitments in Work series. In this last one I want to share about how I'm committed to what my work serves.

3. Committed to what my work serves.
This might seem strange. What does work actually serve or, better yet, how does work serve anything else? The point is this. Too many people in life let their work become the be-all-end-all. This may be truer in major cities like New York or Chicago, where young professionals run themselves ragged for their employer and continue to do it for 40 years. This is different than hustle. It's worship. By worship I mean devotion not only to work, but to what it claims to promise: power, money, prestige – an identity. In other words, people live to serve their work instead of letting their work serve others. The difference between the two is seen in what is sacrificed. I know that if I'm living for my work, then what I share below is being sacrificed. On the other hand, if my work is serving others, then it gets sacrificed for aspects of life that are more important. What are those? It boils down to two for me.

My work serves my family. I talked with someone yesterday who told me about two very successful financial advisors who have taken different paths. The first, he said, is the top producer in their market, taking home over a million dollars a year. He's well into his career, but continues to grow his business. Yet his family life is in shambles. The second, he said, is a high producer in their market, still taking home a comfortable six-figure salary, about a third of the first guy. This guy, though, had decided that his work was going to serve his family. While he still makes great money and works hard, he has chosen to put his business in maintenance mode so he can be home in time, go to all the practices, games, recitals. That's what I want. I'm committed to not letting my work get in the way of my family; rather, I want my work to serve my family. For me right now this means getting home at a decent hour, keeping the phone and computer off until well after dinner, The Boy is down, and some connection with The Wifey. It also means considering how my work serves goals for the family and thinking through ways I can be more available 3, 5, 10 years from now. That I think goes back to Commitment #1. I do not want to work so hard and earn so much that I end up losing all of which truly matters to me. It's sad to me to see men and women fight for acceptance and approval in the workplace – which is often what all that toil ends up being – when it's already right at home with the family.

My work serves my God. More important, even than family, is how my work serves my God. I believe Christianity is unique in it's perspective of work. It grates against a culture that "Ugh, why do I have to work?" or "I just want to win the lottery and never work again" or "I'm working so I can retire early." All of these represent the brokenness of work. Christianity acknowledges that. It's what I shared before. It's called toil. However, in Christianity, work is a gift from God and originates with God himself in creation. Work is first a good thing and we are called to work as if our company was owned by God Himself. It's still tough for me to grasp and understand all of the practical implications of it, but at the end of the day I am committed to doing my work as if it is for Him. I am reminded daily just how far short I fall of this commitment, but I am grateful for His kindness and patience.

I'm sure these will be fleshed out more over the years, but the foundation is there. Have you thought about this at all? What have you come up with? What would you add or change or take out?

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