There is a scene in the film The Passion of the Christ that always impacted me, where Jesus is being mercilessly beaten by the roman guards.
Jesus seems to be there with diligence and purpose. He is not simply there receiving this punishment with passivity. He is there doing a job out of love, where our redemption was being bought.
And then He falls and with great effort He picks Himself up again to receive more punishment. The guards look surprised. They can't believe Jesus' nerves, and the punishment continues.
I know this incident in the film, that is of Him falling and picking Himself up while being scourged by the roman soldiers, is extra biblical, but I think it reflects Jesus' character.
How was Jesus as a carpenter? Did He slack and did things halfheartedly? I certainly don't think so.
I have a confession to make: Lately, I have been slacking somewhat at my job. No, it is not as it was many years ago, but little by little, I've been slowly relaxing my standards and work ethic.
With this came a dreading for my job, so much so that as soon as I start I can't wait for my shift to end.
God has been gently bringing this to my attention. And it is surprising how long I can go ignoring His gentle whispers.
But I'm finally starting to listen to His call to work for Him. He calls me to give witness of Him at my job.
By giving witness I don't think He means just to share the gospel to my coworkers, though that's what we might think of when we hear of witnessing Jesus to our coworkers.
I believe we are to be a living witness, where our work ethic is such that it gives praises to God, without the need of uttering one single word.
He is calling us not to just preach the gospel to our coworkers but to be the gospel to our coworkers.
And whenever I slack and relax my work ethics, I fail to give witness of Christ.
Yes, there are many aspects of my job that I honestly don't like. Working in the environment where I work, in a gas station in one of the poorest and dangerous neighborhoods in Oakland, can bring a lot of stress. We have to keep panhandlers and shoplifters out. I have been robbed at gun point, threatened and verbally abused by countless customers.
And yet He calls me to give Him glory and reminds me that I'm not serving my earthly boss, but that I can serve Him with my job.
Paul instructs servants in his days "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" (Colossians 3:23 NIV).
While being a slave or servant in 1st century Palestine was not as bad as the slave trade of more recent times, it wasn't a walk in the park either. It can't compare to my job. Not even close.
And yet if they were to work with all of their hearts to that trade, why can't I? Why do I have to complain and moan about my job? Why can't I be joyful in serving Jesus this way?
How easy it is to lose perspective when routine takes over and we work for our paychecks!
Lord, help me to a witness of you at my job, and work for your glory and not because I need to. Amen.