“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” ~ Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
At my job, this semester has been especially hard because I am the only foreign teacher so I teach every student in my academy. Furthermore, I have to write comments for almost every single student I teach and test all the students during test period. And all of this has to be been done within a short time. As a result, I’ve been taking my work home, skipping dinner, staying up very late, and canceling appointments during the week trying to get all this done. I never really got any direction or explanation on how to do this; I just do it because I was told to do it. So, there I am, on the computer during all of my breaks trying to enter this information on the computer so that the students and parents can see the student’s progress.
Just the other day, I was nearly in tears thinking of how much I have to complete—I still haven’t finished—and how physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted I was. I could do my work quickly and carelessly, but that is not part of my personality; I tend to be a perfectionist at times. So, I came to God feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated. Why do I have to do all this? Why am I putting so much effort into doing this for an academy that does not treat me equally like they do to all the other employees? Then, something clicked. God reminded me of my purpose that He revealed to me even before I came to Korea.
I brought with me to Korea a small poster I got from a church I visited in the States. It says, I am here to worship and serve Jesus. And the verse below it is Colossians 3:23. This is the mission God gave me as I was preparing the process to become an English teacher in Korea. I found myself willing to do anything if it meant I would do it for the Lord. Every time I went to work, I spoke these words aloud. Recently, I’ve gotten into the habit of not speaking those words. However, as soon as I was reminded of these words again, the stress, agony, frustration, and anger fled. I remembered why God has me here in the first place. My mind felt reenergized and ready to do the work thoroughly even if it meant another late night. The day after the reminder, I happily woke up and went to a coffee shop to finish as much as I could. I was so tired—I’m sleep deprived even as I am writing this—but I was so content. I didn’t care anymore if my work would please my boss or my students’ parents. As long as it pleases God, nothing else is important.
Doing work for man is meaningless according to the book of Ecclesiastes. In chapter 2 verses 22-23, it says, “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless” (NIV). We can push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. But if our main target is to please man or because man told us to complete a certain task, we are wasting our time. We didn’t come here to be slaves to man, but to serve man. Although we have jobs or careers or whatever it is that keeps us busy, our main purpose here is God. This can change whatever attitude we have about our current situation. The image of God smiling down at me means more than a large paycheck.
I hope y’all have a great weekend! As always, we love hearing from you!