My foul-mouthed, mustachioed boss had been a roofer for years. I had been a roofer since college let out in May, but I had already learned that it was a messy, exhausting, and inglorious job. Every morning at 4:30 my boss picked me up, and he always listened to country music. Perhaps the songs reminded him why he’d been working so hard for so long:
“Calloused hands told a story for the small town Southern man,
He gave it all to keep it all together, keep his family on his land.
Like his daddy, years wore out his body, made it hard just to walk and stand.”
— “Small Town Southern Man,” Alan Jackson
People are poetic to the core. We write songs about love, make movies about history, write books about everything imaginable, and we sing to our children at night. We wax poetic about anything and everything, including our careers, whether glorious or mundane.
Most of us can’t be even partly satisfied with our work unless we have a high view of what we’re doing. For me, medical school is no different. Studying is long and tiring, but I can’t think of it as just working for a grade–I’m learning vital information that can save my future patients. And when I finally do have patients, I won’t merely be a doctor, handing out antibiotics to kids with ear infections. I’ll be a picture of God, healing people’s physical wounds, and hopefully pointing them to Jesus, who can heal their spiritual wounds. Work–whether scrubbing toilets or piloting planes–is poetic, because we’re not doing ordinary work, we’re doing God’s work.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”