This week I was walking by the nurse’s station at the school where I occasionally substitute teach. As always, I greeted the janitor lady who was washing the windows. She explained to me that while washing the windows to the nurse’s station was not a part of her job description, she wanted the windows as well as the surroundings to look as pleasant as possible.
Her work ethic reminds me of the memory text in last Sabbath’s lesson.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” 1 Corinthians 15:58, NKJV.
Several years ago I bought a mountain bicycle and quickly decided I wanted a street bicycle instead. I went back to the bicycle shop to look for a street bike and asked if there was any way I could trade in the bike I recently bought, aware I would lose money on the deal. The salesman told me I did not need a new bike. I only needed different tires. Later I thought Duh! how obvious? The salesman could have taken advantage of my ignorance and made more money off me, but instead he saved me money.
A few days later I was riding bikes with my friend who had also just bought a brand new bike. His bike had those shoes that actually fit into the pedals. He crashed into a bush. Frustrated, he said he wanted regular pedals. We were just blocks from the bicycle shop where I bought my bike, so I suggested we ride over and get new pedals for his bike. When my friend explained to the salesman why he wanted the pedals replaced, the salesman asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to wait a few weeks and see if you get used to the original pedals first?” Keep in mind my friend bought his bike elsewhere. All the salesman had to do was ring up the sale to make a few extra dollars. Instead the salesman, like my janitor friend, was passionate about his work. He loved bicycling and wanted my friend to get the most enjoyment from his bike instead of making a few extra dollars off him. My friend had to actually convince the salesman to just sell him the regular pedals.
Obviously this bicycle shop has become my favorite. The salesman’s loyalty to his customers has made me loyal to him. It does my heart good to see a bicycle salesman who is more passionate about bicycling than merely making money. Our work should be more than just making a living. It should be about making a life.
I was helping a school teacher with her Bible class when she called me on Sunday morning. A student of ours was about to fail – not only this class but the entire grade. He simply was not applying himself. The teacher had one more idea that might get him caught up, and she wanted me to pray with her that morning for this particular student. After hanging up the phone, I could not help but think, Here it is Sunday morning and this teacher is desperately trying to help this student and even calling me to pray together. That goes beyond her job description. Again here was a teacher who is passionate about education and not just getting a paycheck.
The world is full of wonderful people like this. The detective who comes out of retirement to help solve a cold case. The pastor who is retired but never actually retires from preaching and giving Bible studies. The musician who entertains the children in the hospital pro bono. The list goes on of people just like my friend cleaning the windows at school not to make a better paycheck but to make life better for others. The bicycle salesman who loves his job instead of only making money. The school teacher who loves to see children learn more than she loves getting a paycheck and resting Sunday mornings. I love people who love their work. I love people who work to make life better for others.