Chappy’s Corner: Just doing our job?

During Annual Training at Camp Rapid in Rapid City, I saw a man by the road digging some holes and it reminded me of the following story:

Ted enjoyed his first day of retirement by sitting on his front porch enjoying a nice cup of coffee and looking out over the city park. While he sat there he saw a city truck pull up and two men get out. The men proceeded to take shovels and one of them would dig a hole, and then the second man took a shovel and filled the empty hole with dirt. This went on and on. For about an hour Ted watched this and finally walked over and asked them, “I’ve been watching both of you and all I see is you dig a hole and then you fill the hole up. What’s going on here?” Ole, one of the city workers states, “We’re just doing our job.” Ted looked at them said, “What job is that?”  Swen replied, “Oh, we are the city tree planting crew. But the guy who plants the trees is sick today.”

Ole and Swen were doing their job, but they were accomplishing nothing. I’m sure all of us have witnessed folks working but not getting anything done. They are lazy, sloppy or just don’t care and that attitude results in the job having to be redone.  Hopefully we want to do the best we can at whatever job we are doing. On the other hand many of us work hard and do our best but it feels like we are getting nowhere.  Maybe we have worked on a special project only to be told, it is no longer needed.  At such times the frustration sets in and we feel like our time was wasted.

While we may feel it was a waste of time, we need to remember that whatever we are doing is being observed.  When we do our work we never know who may be watching.  It might be a bystander or the boss, but for sure the Lord is watching. God sees everything we do and that includes the work we do.  The bible states, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Jesus did that. He saw His life as a service to the Lord and to others. As Jesus stated, “The son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus work was to suffer and die and rise again in order to save us. Some might view his work as a waste of time since many folks don’t believe in him, but Jesus didn’t.  He saw the purpose in what He did and it was to save people.

While we may think what we do is not important or is a waste of time, we need to see that any work we do is a way of serving the Lord and the way we work reflects our attitude towards the Lord. If our job is shoveling manure, we can do it with grumbling and complaining, or we can see it as a way of helping someone else.  And if like Ted, we happen to be retired from our job, it doesn’t mean our purpose in life is finished.  As long as we are in this world we have a job to do… it might not be for a paycheck, but we have work to do as a spouse, a neighbor, a friend, a parent or grandparent or just as someone who is willing to work hard in order to help someone else get the job done.


That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of the great state of South Dakota!


CH (COL) David Gunderson