Mindfulness Day 5: Mindfulness as an Employee
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23, ESV)
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, ESV)
So far in our study of being mindful and present, we’ve looked at our relationships with our families and with the Lord. But what about our relationships with our bosses, coworkers, and employees, and being physically and mentally present at work?
We all would agree that it’s important for us to be physically (or at least virtually) present at work. Skipping out on work every day would be stealing time, getting paid for doing nothing, and would be a poor testimony. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul said that those who didn’t work shouldn’t eat. At that time, he was dealing with those who, because they thought the Lord was returning immediately, didn’t think they needed to work anymore and were instead living off donations from the church. But the point remains: if we don’t work, we don’t deserve to be paid. I am not talking about stints on unemployment during a down market, retirement, disability, or anything like that. I am saying that if we have the ability (and the need if we aren’t retired) to work, we should work at something. Although sometimes it feels like a curse, working for a living really is a blessing. Let us desire to be physically (or virtually) present at work.
But what about being mentally present? I know from experience that the work-from-home lifestyle lends itself to even more opportunities to be distracted from the task at hand, but we owe it to our employers, coworkers, and employees to be mentally present as well. Part of putting in the effort at work is being mentally present—not checking out during meetings, not staring at your phone in the bathroom to burn time, and not thinking about vacation all day. Are we going to be perfect at this? Of course not, but we can strive to be a hard worker and be mentally present at work in order to be a good testimony to those around us.
In our story in Luke, Martha was distracted with much serving. She thought she was doing a work for the Lord, but He reminded her that she was doing too much and only one thing was necessary. Mary rightly completed her work, left it behind, and went to listen to Jesus teach. Martha wanted to work, but she was working at the wrong thing. Instead of hustling and bustling around the house, she could have put all that aside after completing what was necessary and turned her focus to the work of listening to and obeying the commands of the Lord. It would be my prayer that each of us would desire to be physically and mentally present at work, being a good example to those around us, and honoring the Lord with our work.