Monday, May 26, 2014

Workspace as Altar

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, Ephesians 4:1 (NRSV)
Lately I’ve been reading Charles Colson’s The Good Life.  It is a wonderful read, published just a few years before he passed away; so the wisdom he shares is from a lifetime of accumulated learning and experience. 

And what a life that was, from pre-teen, fervent World War II era schoolboy raising funds to buy jeeps for the military, to serving in the Marines - later an Ivy League educated lawyer and Special Counsel to the President of the United States who became a Watergate scandal convicted felon!  When all was said and done, I believe he will be remembered as one who returned to the prisons, this time to minister as an advocate for the inmates.  You learn a lot from all sides of the fence.

Colson writes:
Living a life of significance does not depend on the prerogatives that belong to high position; it depends even less on others’ esteem and praise.  Living a meaningful life consists simply in embracing the responsibilities and work given to us, whatever they are.  The nature of work itself connects us with the moral order (and the God who created it…).  The workbench, the kitchen counter, the computer station, or any other workspace is an altar.  There is intrinsic meaning to work well done – and when we fail to grasp this, we become hollow persons. [1]

Colson went from advisor in the Oval Office to washing sweaty inmate’s clothes in the prison laundry.  The former was work of which everyone in the world took note; the latter was despised by even the prisoners.

What could make prison laundry detail a holy thing on a level with being a highly placed government official?  The same thing that can make them both useless and burdensome – why you do what you do.

Colson came to believe that his “workspace is an altar.  Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God.  This is (in the Apostle Paul’s words) living a life worthy of that to which God has called you.  Are you a plumber?  Make those joints secure.  A mother?  Change those diapers with reverence.  Banker, lawyer, school custodian, athlete, student, homeless or retired?  Do all for and to the glory of Almighty God.  

In the end the only (true) significance to whatever you do is your joyful, reverent, 100%-given-stab-at-excellence kind of obedience a faithful servant gives in the name of the Master who gives the order.

Remember this?  Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Today…for you

You’ve got stuff to do today; so GO…hit that rocky road and give it everything you’ve got, with a smile on your face, uplifted hands of praise to the Lord, and confidence in your heart that God will reward your faithfulness.
That’s living a life of significance; a life where your workspace is an altar!

[1] Colson, Charles, The Good Life, (Carol Stream, Ill, Tyndale House, 2005), page 83

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