The Working Class

Johnny Paycheck and Loverboy were idiots.  More on that later.

My friend Reggie builds arms and legs.  Once, I tried to look up the official title for someone who does that for a living but I got confused so I just say he builds arms and legs.

I’m a pastor so my job is much more important than Reggie’s.

Well, at least that’s what some would have us to believe.  They’re wrong.

In his book Issues Facing Christians Today, John Stott tells the story of three men working in a rock quarry when somebody walks by and asks the men what they are doing.  The first man says, “I’m busting rocks.”  The second man says, “I’m trying to make enough money to pay my bills.”  The third man says, “I’m building a cathedral.”

Stott’s point was that any honest work a Christian does is God’s work.  In God’s kingdom, there is no working class.  The stay at home mom and the truck driver are ministers, just like the pastor and the missionary.

Here’s where Johnny Paycheck and Loverboy come in.  Johnny Paycheck sang a famous song about telling off his boss and Loverboy sang a less famous song about working for the weekend.  Serious Christ-followers do more than work for the weekend and dream about telling off the boss.  Instead, they do their work with the satisfaction of knowing that they are ultimately working for the glory of God and the good of others.

The other day, I had the chance to ask Reggie a few questions about building arms and legs for the glory of God.

You’re in a profession that allows you to serve suffering people. Explain how your job has also been your ministry.

With my career in orthotics and prosthetics the people I encounter every day either have lost a limb or have some bodily deficit requiring a brace. Quite often these people come in very down and feeling hopeless. They are looking for answers.  They are looking for hope. As I work with these patients I try to listen, really listen, pay attention to their fears and problems. During this time I make the leg, arm or whatever brace they may need. This is a way to meet their immediate bodily needs. But very often I encounter people either with no relationship with Christ or a relationship that has suffered due to various reasons. First, I try to show compassion, friendship and let Christ’s love show through me. I share my personal testimony and share the gospel. I have had the opportunity to share the plan of salvation and pray with patients . I have been blessed to be in a position to share the Gospel daily to people who are looking for answers but often times I fail or miss opportunities . I regret these times and strengthen my resolve to do more to share Christ. But I must say that I also meet and work with Christians that show their faith even in tragic times in their life.  These people are truly a blessing to me. I guess to answer the question in a nutshell I try to share the gospel, show Christ’s love and minister to people’s spiritual needs while working on there physical needs.

As the leader in a small business, it must be very difficult to pull away and not let work come before Jesus and your family. Talk about that struggle.

This is something I struggled with for a long time. I convinced myself that I was doing it all for my family. I was being a good provider for my family. But I wasn’t.  I was a absentee husband and father. This caused serious problems at home or at the very least gave a reason for division. I lost my family and I was not there for my wife or kids. This was not the only reason for this happening but it added to the problem. I make a effort every day to keep my priorities Christ then family then work. And I try to tell others of the problems that putting work first can cause.

Talk about the importance of excellence in work. It seems like the worst possible witness for a business leader to proclaim Christ while at the same time providing inadequate service to customers. How important is excellence to your business and how do you pursue it? 

As a Christian I should show Christ in all I do. By doing my best at work this is part of my testimony. If I am spending my time proclaiming Christ but not providing appropriate care my witness is damaged. I try to always be honest with all of my patients and let them know when mistakes happen and always be ready to listen to problems and formulate solutions.

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.  (Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV)