As a way of bringing theatre into our living rooms during lockdown, the National Theatre released several of their productions recorded live to watch free of charge on their website. One such play was One Man, Two Guvnors, a farcical, raucous journey through the lead character’s complications of working for two people at the same time. Watching the play again recently led me to reflect on work.
The Bible is clear that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24)
Unambiguously with regards to our endeavours, we are called as followers of Jesus that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23)
But what if the people we work with and for prove challenging, difficult, and uncooperative? The reality is that whilst at work we must honour and ultimately pledge our faith in God, we exist in a world with bosses, supervisors, line managers and ‘guvnors’ that we are accountable to. The London Institute of Contemporary Christianity ‘Transforming Work’ framework extols the ‘6Ms’ as facets for how we can express the fruitfulness of Christ. The one that caught my eye recently was ‘Ministers Grace and Love’. One of the best definitions of grace that was given to me by a mentor shortly after I made my commitment was ‘undeserved help’. It has taken many years and many more difficult events and situations to fully understand and appreciate the depth of this phrase.
A colleague of mine firmly believes that teachers in the last week of term before the summer holidays shouldn’t speak to each other. Avoid all interactions. Lock yourself in your classroom and just get to the summer holidays intact. We’re too tired, too grumpy, have no sense of humour, and lack any tolerance or patience. At those times, it is most difficult for Christ to be at the centre of all of our interactions and be vessels of ‘undeserved help’.
For all the workers and for all the ‘guvnors’ amongst us - have a blessed day at work. God is with us.