“The Christian shoemaker does his duty, not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” — Martin Luther
Work. It greets us at the dawn of each new day. Whether you serve in a church or para-church organization, business community, or at home, much of our life is consumed with work. It causes us to rise early and stay late. It compels us to do more, get better, grow stronger.
Occasionally, we sense the glory of work as God intended it. We feel as Eric Liddell did during his Olympic training when he said, “When I run I feel his pleasure.”
But if we’re honest, such moments are often infrequent and brief. Much of our work is marked by mundane routine — filling out spreadsheets, making lunches, sitting in meetings, returning phone calls, folding laundry, or completing reports. Then what? We wonder. Does our work really matter?
If Martin Luther was writing today, he would give us a resounding yes. Our work matters deeply to our community, to our character formation, and ultimately to God.
Think back to the Garden of Eden. God took great care in everything he made. He spoke everything — each sunrise, orbit, geranium, and elephant — into existence from nothing. Then examining all that he made, declared it “good.” He fashioned man and woman uniquely in his image and also declared them “very good.”
God cares deeply about craftsmanship because he is the author of it. When we “make good shoes,” we reflect his character in places where it might scarcely be seen otherwise.
Think about the meetings you’ll sit in today. Look at the mounting pile of laundry you’ll fold. Consider the spreadsheet you’ll generate. On the surface they seem ordinary, mundane, even boring. While doing them we may even question their point and our purpose.
But what if we looked deeper? What if we saw returning phone calls, making lunches, or writing reports as a way to reflect God’s glory? What if we looked for the small opportunities tucked within each assignment? What if we recognized the ways in which God uses them to form us?
Only then does our work becoming meaningful and our purpose clear. We reflect God’s good and gracious character amidst chaotic carpool lines, tiny cubicles, and long meetings.
Suddenly the content of our work doesn’t matter so much. We stop despising the mundane. We let go of our need to be seen, noticed, or applauded. And instead we work faithfully and diligently; aware that the Creator of everything is evaluating our work with the same pleasing eye that he looked upon his creation with in the beginning.
So whatever you must accomplish today, do it well. Make good shoes. And when you do, you might just feel his pleasure.