written in November 2005 by Hubby
“Does not man have hard service on the earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man?” Job 7:1
When I came across these words during my reading through the book of Job, I exclaimed to myself YES. My work as a lawn care specialist for the past 4 months exhausts my strength every night. Having left the sheltered halls of Rutgers University and entered the real world, I want to take some time to reflect on who I am and what I am becoming. I am challenged, and I am changed, as I encounter daily tests of my physical and spiritual abilities.
The demands of my job on my physical body are high, but meeting them contributes partially to my sense of integrity. I wake up each morning before six o’clock, 5-6 times per week. I load 50-pound bags of fertilizer, grass seed, or lime onto my truck. I drive to 20-30 lawns and cover every square foot with whatever I am applying that day. Some of my lawns are more than 10,000 square feet, and a few are 3 or 4 times that much. That’s a lot of walking. I can feel myself getting stronger, even as I feel myself getting tired.
But more importantly are the effects my job have on my spiritual life. In this realm I face much tougher challenges, many of which I repeatedly fail to overcome. It is in my spiritual life which I have changed the most, in the sense that I have become less diligent in living up to my identity as a Christian on a very basic level. I did not expect this to happen, because I was not prepared for what lay ahead.
College prepared me with the knowledge I now use on my job. Previous experience prepared me for the physical labor I knew that was required for my job as a grass farmer. But I was unprepared for working in a world where truth is a function of profitability, stealing is an accepted method of survival, and money is the bottom line. I am not saying this to disparage my company in particular, but to comment on our human condition as a whole.
Without going into specific (you can ask me in person if you want specifics), I am not the person I know I should be at work. Many times I feel a lack of the Spirit’s presence while I am at work. And since I have been spending so much time at work, this feeling of spiritual emptiness has been spilling over into other parts of my life. Is this really the job God intends for me to have if it makes my spiritual life suffer? Before I give a definitive answer, I must confess that God has given me weapons, which I have not used to fend off my spiritual decline.
For example, I rediscovered one morning in the car the power of praise. Singing songs of worship from the heart simply put me right in tune with God. I wasn’t singing along with the radio, I was just pouring out my weary heart to reconnect with its Creator. What was the result? I felt more like myself when I stepped into work. God opened up an opportunity to troubleshoot a technical problem with two of my co-workers, Will and Luis. We worked together selflessly, helped each other out. I don’t remember this ever happening before. It almost felt… Christian.
I didn’t preach to them, or even pray for them. My actions and attitude were simply an extension of where my heart was at the time following a half hour of worship. And it made me wish that my heart were in that place more often. I want a stronger desire to pray and read the Bible during my workday. I want to be a light to my coworkers and my customers. I want to overcome the temptation of conforming to the accepted moral standards of the business environment and be an example of someone who joyfully serves others.
There are days when the sun is shining down on me, when my work goes smoothly as can be. my attitude is good and I find relative enjoyment in doing what I do. Then there are days when the road is marked with potholes, broken equipment, or difficult customer issues. The weather might be too hot, too rainy, or too cold. I don’t enjoy these days. I am tempted to take shortcuts, thereby short-changing God and my moral integrity. it is my prayer that all my days I will be able to bless the Name of the Lord by reaching down into my firm moral foundation and doing what is right.
I never really tasted what the working world was like when I was in college. One actually has to be there in order to experience it, though I hope I have conveyed to some of you what it feels like. I encourage you not o grow weak in your prayer life and reading of the Scriptures. Solidify that habit now so you will be well-equipped spiritually at a time when you may not expect it.