Work and Works
Not Quite At My Best
This is actually something I put together a while back but still find it useful when I come across it. Especially when I am busy with continuous work for a long period of time.
I was recently employed as a Physical/Occupational Therapy Aide at a rehab facility. This involves transferring patients, assisting in therapy, and handling a variety of other tasks. I've also honed my negotiation skills significantly (You try persuading an elderly person to do exercises at six in the morning). It's a very unique job, but with every job comes the stress of high pressure situations and impending monotony after weeks of the same routine. It's one thing to drudge through the week, but it isn't characteristic of the Christian to live paycheck to paycheck as if that's the only reason we labor in this life. Our jobs are an opportunity to show others how our hope in the future promises of Christ transcends the daily grind. The money isn't an end in itself when we know God supplies us with what we need (Matthew 6:25). Even knowing this, I've found that my endeavors to set a godly example fall short frequently. Even my best works can be masked with a negative attitude.
Although I know that I can't do it perfectly, I have to remind myself that Christ covers both my bad works and my good works. What this means is that my good works can be tainted with both good and bad motives or attitudes (Isaiah 64:6). The only way God can accept our 'good works' as truly good is by the grace that covers it through faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Knowing that should cultivate gratitude resulting in a boldness when it comes to accomplishing the task at hand. I forgot to put this into practice the last few weeks and put myself in a pattern of begrudgingly working and lamenting over the inadequacy of my work, inevitably leading to more begrudging work. I'd come home and furiously study the passages regarding gratitude and obedience, because without gratitude, obedience can feel legalistic. Unfortunately I would never take my gaze off my own work and failed to focus on the work that's been done for me. I couldn't work for more than a few minutes without basically pausing to reflect on whether or not Christ-like character had been reflected in my tasks. As this process of work and self-examination continued, it felt like I had to check if God was still there in my trials. But something strange happened during this time while I worked.
An Unlikely Metaphor
One of my smaller tasks I have each day is wheelchair following. This is when a patient stands up on a rehab walker while the therapist keeps them from collapsing and, you guessed it, I follow them with the wheelchair so they have a place to land if things go wrong. Well, one of the patients has poor short-term memory combined with a fear of falling down. I am not exaggerating when I say that with every two steps the patient took she would stop and ask, "Is Chase still behind me?". I'd reassure her that I was still there and she wasn't going to fall. Another two steps and she would panic saying, "Chase are you still behind me?". Every time I had to reassure her I was behind her and that was when it struck me. My constant concern over whether or not God was still with me in my trial was far more ridiculous than a patient who kept asking if I was still following behind her with a chair to catch her whenever she fell. If a patient who trusted her aide enough to stand up on a walker can continue to trust that he'll stay behind her even if she can't walk well, how much more can we trust a God who promises to stay with us in our trials even if we waver from time to time in our own walk? And there's a lot more reason to trust Him than there is a Rehab Aide, after all, His track record for keeping promises is quite convincing.