Love What You Do
Love is in the air this week as we gear up to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Red hearts, chocolate, flowers, and love notes (or should I say, texts) will be all the rage. I knew I had to figure out a way to get the word “love” into the title of this week’s blog. I’ve already written a couple of blogs on love (I will include those links below). So, I prayed for a new angle, and God gave me one—not one I expected.
One of the comments I have made often in the past is “Every child deserves to have a teacher that loves his/her job.” As I reflect on this, I wonder why I have felt compelled to make this statement. It must have been because I met educators during my career who appeared to NOT love their jobs. It’s a scary thought, but I suspect we can all think of a time when we encountered such a person.
Sometimes days are simply rough. I’m not naïve enough to think that every day should be “Valentine’s Day”; however, as Christ followers, the love for what God has called us to do should not be rooted in our circumstances. If we are to survive AND thrive in education, we must cling to His promises during the times when it is difficult to love what we do.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good words, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
I am a bit nervous about what God has placed on my heart, so if you are feeling oversensitive, you might want to stop reading right now. Please understand this message is as much for me as it is anyone else. Sometimes we have to stop, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves some hard questions. Here we go.
Can others see in our lives that we love what we do?
Scenario #1. Let’s pretend there are a group of people in the break room. Your name (or my name) comes up in the conversation. Would anyone say, “Wow! You can tell she really loves what she does”?
Scenario #2. There are a group of parents attending a school event. Several happen to have a child in your classroom or school. As always, a conversation ensues about the teacher. Would you hear, “I love how compassionate my child’s teacher is”?
Scenario #3. A group of teachers are visiting with a new staff member at the beginning of the year. The administrator’s name comes up. Would a teacher say, “Our administrator really cares about us and our students; he is always willing to listen”?
Whether you identify with these scenarios or not, I hope you get the point. Can others tell that you love what you do?
In the Book of Colossians, Paul encouraged believers to make Christ first in everything. The commentary in my Bible so eloquently states, “Because believers are rooted in Him, alive in Him, hidden in Him and complete in Him, it is utterly inconsistent for them to live life without Him. Clothed in His love, with His peace ruling in their hearts, they are equipped to make Christ first in every area of life.”
In Colossians 3, Paul urged believers to be mindful and purposeful in everything we do.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (3:17)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. (3:23-24)
For many Christian educators, it was easy early in our careers for others to see in us that we loved what we did for a living. During those early years we recognized we had a unique opportunity to represent Jesus to those around us. However, if we are not careful—and I can tell you this has been the case for me in the past—over time we can get sucked into situations that cause us to lose sight of our calling. We can become overwhelmed or frustrated by circumstances that are outside of our control. It is at those times that we can look like the lost world around us—angry, withdrawn, and divisive. In other words, we can appear as if we do not love what we do. If that happens, how should we respond?
Let’s get the LOVE back into what we do!
1. Claim your power! Do you realize WHO you have in your corner? We have to quit trying to rely on our own strength to do our jobs.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
2. Pray God’s Word. Pray, recite, pray, recite, pray recite… I wish I could fill up this page with just these two words! God answers prayer. God listens. God provides the encouragement and guidance we need through His Word. We will never be able to represent Him in our workplace without relying on His Word through prayer.
Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
3. Seek Godly friendships. We are social beings. We need each other, but we need to be careful in choosing our confidants. While we want to be friends with everyone, we need Godly friends in our lives who will hold us accountable, give us a safe place to vent, and provide wise counsel that is aligned with God’s Word.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24
4. Stay persistent. Reflecting Jesus and love for our work is a daily discipline. Each day is so unpredictable. About the time I think I have things figured out, something occurs to remind me that I am not always in control of my circumstances. Don’t be discouraged. This Christian walk is a process. We are constantly transforming into who God called us to be.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 2:18
5. Fix your face. I hope this one made you smile. I know several leaders with whom I have worked who use this phrase. We all know the power of nonverbal communication. Does your face reflect how you feel about what you do? I know sometimes our insides are churning with angst, and that is okay. However, let’s fix our faces because regardless of our circumstances, God is in control. Others are watching. When circumstances are tough, we are given an opportunity to show others the peace that comes from knowing Jesus.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
While the charge to “love what you do” applies to all believers, I believe it is especially critical for educators. Our students are impressionable. They are immature. They are easily influenced. Many children today are lonely, insecure, and sad. How we as educators see them and treat them could have a lasting impact on their lives. Never forget how important and influential you are in a student’s life. While we can’t fix everything for every student, we can reflect the love of Jesus to them. Loving what you do and fulfilling your calling as a Christian educator can impact a child’s future. Never underestimate what God can do through you when you love what you do.
A final caveat (and this is a tough one). If you are an educator that truly does not love what you do, it may be time to reevaluate. I so want our schools to be full of Christian educators who can shine the light of Jesus to those around them. However, I also know that sometimes, for various reasons, some people miss the mark when it comes to choosing a career. Sometimes those people are believers. Teaching is not to be taken lightly. If you don’t love what you do and are not called to teach, you owe it to yourself and those around you to make a change. I know this may sound harsh, and I don’t mean for it to. Prayerfully seek Him. God has a plan for you and a calling on your life. He wants to use you to shine His light to others. He wants you to love what you do.
Check out the additional blogs on Love: