Are you certain you are ready to go back to work?
For many of us, the current season is full of great eagerness and anticipation. Perhaps you’ve been working from home, and now there is the potential of going back to the office soon. Perhaps you were furloughed over previous weeks, but now you are hearing the news of being called back. Some places it’s a reality; in others, it’s still a wishful hope. For everyone everywhere, great patience is still required.
Serious question: Are you sure you’re ready to go back to work?
I know, you’re chomping at the bit. You are probably ready to throw yourself back into your labors with great gusto. And that’s good. Very good! After all, God made you in his image. He wired you for creative productivity. But hold your horses. Pause long enough to ponder. You see, it could be very easy—tempting even—to just plunge back in and go absolutely crazy, bonkers about your labors. You might jump onto the job floor and become utterly consumed, giddy drunk in your endeavors, and utterly overwhelmed with your to-dos.
Before you head back, don’t miss the opportunity to hit reset. With advanced thoughtfulness, you can actually return to your labors with a renewed and strengthened perspective. Consider these three essentials. (I bet you already know these, but it’s really good in times like these to recall essential truths you already know.)
Remember Your Work is a Gift
When God created humans in his image, he supplied his blessing, including that initial call (often dubbed humanity’s cultural mandate) to “rule and to reign.” He also supplied those initial resources. “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth . . .” (Gen 1:27-31). These are serious gifts “from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17).
In Made to Matter: Devotions for Working Christians, Randy Kilgore reminds us: “It isn’t adoration or statues or even the satisfaction of a job well done that is God’s gift to His children. It’s the work itself!” Timothy Keller, in Every Good Endeavor, supplies motivation: “A biblical understanding of work energizes our desire to create value from the resources available to us. Recognizing the God who supplies our resources, and who gives us the privilege of joining in as cocultivators, helps us enter into our work with a relentless spirit of creativity.”
If we don’t remember our work is a gift as we return to the workplace, we are likely to grow arrogant and too quickly self-reliant. As a result, our creative energies will likely be less than their best.
Remember Your Work is Service to Others, to the Glory of God
This truth is a game-changer when it comes to our purpose and motivation. Under normal circumstances, we struggle to remember such vital truth. We stumble through our busy days with self-serving, push-harder, do-it-for-my-glory perspectives. But during these upcoming days of exciting work comebacks, such self-serving attitudes could be all the craftier and more deceptive. Important reminder: our work is not all about us.
With winsome strokes in The Integrated Life, Ken Eldred reminds us: “The real goal of business is to serve others to the glory of God.” If we are not careful, that pure, simple, life-giving goal could get lost in the dust of our crisis-time comebacks. Let’s re-enter our offices and marketplaces with God-given clarity and fervor. We are there to serve others, to help make God even more famous.
Remember the Importance of Rest
One potential upside for many people during this season of downtime has been exactly that: downtime. Rest. Rejuvenation. Sabbath.
This was God’s brilliant idea on day seven (Gen 2:1-3). The amount of rest many people have been forced to take might be the biggest block of do-nothing that they have experienced since childhood. Oh yes, most of us have rushed to fill the void or been forced to add other side hustles. But no one can disagree. There has been a marked change of pace in work patterns. Less rush. More family time.
With our return to daily labors, there will be the temptation to ramp up, work harder, push more, and drive harder than ever to get ahead. Let’s make certain we do not lose sight of the sacred value of rest, those regular rhythms to which God our Creator called us. He saw the importance of a finish line each week, a holy stop, an intentional time to pause, to celebrate, and to rejuvenate. Let’s not lose sight of the importance of rest.
Remember that work is our Father’s gracious gift. Remember our divine purpose, to serve others for his glory. And remember to “call it a day.” He did.
As we remember these essentials, we are more likely to be truly ready to go back to work.