Forget the old definitions: There are no small jobs

Remember when we were little and we proudly declared, "I'm gonna do something important when I grow up!"

Most of us lost that certainty and we toned it down as the years went by. Besides, our definition of "important" changed--and that's a good thing.

Some people have a mental pecking order when it comes to jobs. Sorry to tell you, but that's an outdated concept.  

Sometimes a job is much more than it seems 

Mitzi works in a child care center. She earns little more than minimum wage, but she loves kids.

Some days the babies cry all day and toddlers cling. On those days sometimes she would like to turBlog. Nursery School Teacher. kids. 10.15n around, walk out the door and never come back.

But she stays, knowing she's "security" for the little ones in her charge. 

The moms and dads love her because it's plain to see that Mitzi loves their children. They often confide in her because she always lets them talk. What's more, she takes time to listen. Mitzi raised three children of her own, so she often passes on practical tips from her own parenting.  

More than one young mom has said to her, "I don't know what I'd do without you, Mitzi. I'm just flying by the seat of my pants as a mom and I don't have anyone else to ask. You are a lifesaver!"

George is "just a janitor" in a middle school.

He has a small cubbyhole "office" where he eats his sack lunch and puts his feet up between chores.

Each year at the beginning of the school year he makes sure to spread the word to students just coming in that he wants to be helpful. He lets everyone know it's okay to stop by his office and if he can help them, he will.  

There might as well be a sign that reads "Counselor" over the door to his tiny room. Every day one or a few kids stop by. They talk and he listens. Sometimes he asks leading questions that turn their thoughts in a new direction. He takes the time, even if they still hang around after the end of a long school day.  

Always, George takes care that his door stays open. 

When a student finishes talking it out George usually assures them that he can tell they are strong and that he knows they will work it out. Most of the time that's all they need.

Sometimes he advises them to talk to a particular teacher or counselor. If he spots a youngster who seems deeply troubled, he quietly alerts faculty members who could come alongside.

Every now and then a kid will tell him, "You're my best friend in all the world, George. Nobody else cares."

Sandy worked behind the counter of a roller skating rink

On weekends and vacation times that rink also served as a hangout for middle- and high-schoolers with too much time on their hands. Her official job was to check everyone in and hand out skates.

Sandy didn't stop with that. She also settled arguments, usually by listening to both sides and then helping the kids get a better perspective. Her clear eyes saw everything, including young couples who couldn't keep their hands off each other.

"They're good kids, most of 'em," she said, "but a few have no one at home because their parents work late. That's why they hang around here--and why they talk to me. Some of their questions are 'lulus,' let me tell you! Everything from faith to sex to fear their parents might be getting a divorce."

That's when Sandy smiled, her face alight with real affection. "They need someone they can talk to. That makes me glad I can be here and that I have time to listen. I give out lots of hugs and I get hugged back. I guess for some of those kids I'm like another mom--and it's good for me to be needed, too."

Let's drop the word "just" when talking about what we do

You're not "just" a mom or a dad. You are raising the next generation. What could be more important than that? You are the one(s) in charge of your family's life and almost certainly, you set the tone for the atmosphere in your home.

You're not "just" a senior with time on your hands. You can use that extra time in so many ways, with your family, in your church and/or in your community. You are available and that enables you to be a blessing in ways that weren't possible earlier in your life.

You're not "just" a caregiver for a loved one. You are the one who--probably more than you know--makes it possible for that family member to feel still loved and valued, in spite of needing care.

You're not "just" a nurse or nurse's aide. You are the one who has the most direct contact with patients. You care for them--and probably with a smile that doesn't quit. You speak hope when they are depressed and encourage them.  

You're not "just" the employee who keeps the business or restaurant tidy, including the restrooms. Because of your quiet work in the background, customers relax and feel confidence that things are done as they should be. 

The list goes on and on. Endlessly.

Adding value to what we do as individuals

However we spend our days we can make life better for ourselves and others without much extra effort, often with words alone. 

It's as the writer of Proverbs says in 25:11 (ESV):

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.  

A friend suggested the other day that instead of the cliche, "Have a nice day," we Christians easily could say, "May God give you a good day."

Or when someone asks, "How are you?" we could do better than reply with our standard "I'm fine." We could answer with something like, "I'm blessed and thankful, and I hope you are, too."

Suppose we took the words of the Apostle Paul seriously

Finally, brothers [and sisters,] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.   Philippians 4:8  ESV

What if you and I made it our "job" to live out those words? Whatever else we do each day, we could embody these truths and let it come through in our ordinary conversations and our everyday responsibilities. Think how that could change our days--and every interaction with other people.

This may sound small and unimportant, but trust me: The results(s) could be mighty.

Best of all, whatever our age or life situation, every one of can do this "small job, right now, wherever we are. 

Ready, set, go!

Lenore

 


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