Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24(NIV)
"What do you do?" I heard myself ask the father of one of my son Ross's classmates at Parent Night. Ugh! I thought. I detest that question because I never know how to answer. Usually I say, "First, I'm a mom, then I'm a writer." But sometimes, when I get through the first half of that sentence, the look in their eyes says, "That's not a real job." So I don't dare add to the list: I'm also a driver, a meal planner and cook, a teacher (of Sunday school), a photographer . . . you get the idea.
God has given me many abilities and fills my life with opportunities to use them. But at times they don't seem to be worth much in a society that measures success in dollars and cents. While my life consists of many jobs, I'm sometimes reluctant to claim as part of my identity the ones that aren't validated with a paycheck. Or I was, until my five-year-old Maria set me straight.
We were sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon after school, talking about what she might be when she grows up. As I caught up on the monthly bills, she sat with a pile of colored markers, carefully drawing picture after picture.
"I can do lots of things when I get big," she said, her gray-green eyes shining.
"Anything you want," I said.
"I can wear a pretty costume and dance on a big stage."
"Ooh, I'd like that."
"I can be a baby doctor or a dog doctor," she said, pushing a patch of sandy bangs from her eyes with her small, rainbow-streaked hand.
"I know what you can be when you grow up," I said. "How about an artist?"
"That's silly, Mommy."
"Why, honey?" I asked, puzzled.
"Because I already am an artist," she announced.
Instantly I understood what Maria was saying. Whatever she does, whatever she spends time working hard on, that's what makes her Maria. If God has given me a job and the ability to do it, however insignificant it might seem in the eyes of others, it's real work to Him. And that's an assignment I can do with pride.
Help me see beyond what the world values to what You value, Father. Then I will be a success.