Work, a major part of our existence, is fertile ground for songs that mirror our attitude toward it.
Among the offspring is Tennessee Ernie Fordâ€™s, â€œYou load sixteen tons and what do you get/ Another day older and deeper in debt/ St. Peter donâ€™t you call me â€˜cause I canâ€™t go/ I owe my soul to the company store.â€
And its cousin, the amended Disney Dwarfsâ€™ tune, â€œI owe, I owe, so off to work I go!â€
Or this â€˜40s or â€˜50s melodic charge, the lyrics of which I find fairly easy to remember: â€œYip yip yip yip boom boom boom boom, get a job! Sha la la la, Sha la la la.â€
Work, for many, has no other incentive than the paycheck. But is that all there is to it? Nothing more than a means to an end, something we have to do to get what we have to have to live as we want? Surely thereâ€™s more to it than that.
There is. And it has to do with attitude â€“ how we view our jobs in the first place. Look at your means of livelihood as something you do for God, too, and â€“presto! â€“ itâ€™s significant, linked to a much larger purpose. And we each can make that shift. This is Godâ€™s world, after all, meaning any work that contributes to the quality of life within it can be regarded as an occupation glorifying God. Any.
Which brings to mind a certain manâ€™s visit to a stone quarry. Encountering three of the workers, he asked what they were doing.
â€œCanâ€™t you see?â€ said the first. â€œIâ€™m cutting a stone.â€
â€œIâ€™m earning a hundred pounds a week,â€ said the second.
But the third put down his pick, thrust out his chest, and said, â€œIâ€™m building a cathedral.â€Â
The late Chuck Colson, telling this story, concluded it, saying, â€œWhether we are digging ditches, managing a bank, or cleaning houses, the important thing to remember is that we are building a cathedral.â€
Warner F. Davis a retired Presbyterian pastor. Warner has released a spiritual memoir titled, “Peace in a Mad Dog World: Finding Security When My Need For Control had Failed Me,” through Virtual bookworm Publishing. For more information about his book, visit warnerfrancisdavis.com.