At Work

Two Biblical Truths for Fighting Off Complacency

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Some days are just gray. We find ourselves doing tasks that, compared to our ideal job or our perception of others’ jobs, are simply mundane.

On days like this, projects come together more slowly, papers take longer to write, and meetings last for an eternity. It is difficult to remember why we set out to complete these things. Motivation is elusive.

Elise Daniel quoted this bit of wisdom from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest in a previous post about changing the world:

Many of us are no good for the everyday world when we are not on the mountaintop. Yet we must bring our everyday life up to the standard revealed to us on the mountaintop when we were there. […] We must learn to live in the ordinary “gray” day according to what we saw on the mountain.

If we choose to cultivate faithfulness in the small tasks, these slower days need not be so gray. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when staving off complacency.

All work God calls us to is valuable. In an opportunity society, we need mechanics and hairdressers as well as CEOs and physicists. As each of us specialize in the work we do best, we improve not only ourselves but those purchasing and benefiting from our creations. As Christians, true flourishing comes with an outward focus. As we encourage others to improve in their work and demonstrate excellence in our own, we will experience greater flourishing. If we are focused inward, we will miss the opportunities in front of us, the chances to learn from others, the chances to innovate.

All work reflects God’s glory. We go about our work because we are designed to create in the image of the One who created us. As Abraham Kuyper puts it in Wisdom and Wonder:

The motive of art comes to us not from what exists, but from the notion that there is something higher, something nobler, something richer, and that which exists corresponds only partially to all of this.

As we wrestle with the ideas and challenges presented to us in the midst of our work, we began to identify their passions and talents. We begin to come into their own through this process.

We should look around us and try to identify opportunities to use our gifts and talents, no matter how mundane those opportunities seem on the surface. We cannot wait for the “right” day to begin. We cannot put off God’s call to embrace the opportunities he has placed before us today. Join me in honoring our calling by embracing the extraordinary and the mundane in each day.

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  • Greg Larson

    Dr. Bradley, This is a great reminder. I can get so wrapped up in the day-to-day, mundane minutia that I forget I have a higher calling. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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