A Remarkable Decision




When the lady handed me an annual report that had taken hours to prepare, I smiled and said, “Now that you’ve had so much fun with this, you’re ready to celebrate, aren’t you?”

I expected her to agree readily and to give me a play-by-play account of her struggles to prepare the report. (That’s what others always did!) Instead, she smiled, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I enjoyed doing it.”
My face registered my surprise, for she explained, “I make up my mind to enjoy whatever task I have to do.”
I thought, What an unusual lady! What a remarkable decision!

Long after she left the office, I continued to think about her words. The more I thought about them, the more they made sense, even though some tasks aren’t enjoyable in and of themselves. For instance, I don’t find cleaning bathrooms or washing endless loads of clothes particularly exciting. I can think of much more fun things to do on any given day, but since these chores have to be done, why not choose to keep a positive attitude while doing them?
While doing mundane chores, I try to follow the advice someone gave me years ago. As I wash the clothes, I thank God for providing them, and I thank Him for the loved ones who wore them. When I clean bathrooms, I thank God for indoor plumbing, for I remember what it’s like to have to use an outhouse and to carry water from a distant spring. When I sweep wheelbarrow loads of pine straw from the driveway each fall, I thank God for the beauty of the seasons, even though each one brings added work. When the work load gets heavy at the office, I thank God for the privilege of serving Him in the position He has enabled me to have. I thank Him for health, and strength, and wisdom to do what is required.
I’ve noticed that when I have a thankful heart even the difficult tasks don’t seem as unpleasant as they do if I do them with a bad attitude. However, I must admit that I don’t always approach every task with an attitude of thanksgiving. Neither do I always enjoy each job. Nevertheless, I always have the option to choose my attitude toward the task at hand.
The Bible gives specific instructions regarding our attitudes toward work. In his letter to the Christians in Colosse, Paul advised, “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17, New Living Translation).
Later on in that same letter, Paul reminded them of this principle: “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23, NLT).
Whatever our tasks—annual reports, laundry, yard work, relationships—we are to do each one as thoroughly and as thankfully as if we were doing them for the Lord Himself. After all, He is our Master. He is the one who will judge us and reward us accordingly.

Excerpted from Reflections © 2002 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, www.jgaskill.com.


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