21 Feb 2019 Closed on Sunday
by Derek Schiefer
As I pull up to the “office,” I can already see a long line of cars formed in the parking lot. After parking in my usual spot, I walk toward the building, only to be greeted by a pile of trash and trays left outside on the tables. I quickly clean them up and head inside with a smile. As I walk through the doors, I instantly feel the bustle all around me. My employees look up, some with relief and others with questions in their eyes. But before I even get behind the counter, I’m stopped by a customer who has a question, and then I notice the little girl who just dropped her lemonade on the floor. No time to waste, only work to be done. But it’s easy for me to get motivated because I love what I do for work. I am the franchise owner of Chick-Fil-A at Totem Lake.
I’ve been in the fast food business now for well over 15 years. I started off as a fry boy while attending college, and over time I progressed in my work, doing almost every job imaginable in the restaurant business. I’ve found that if I’m good at something, I naturally dive in and bring my best, which is something my dad instilled in me when I was young. And this “bring my best” attitude has greatly helped me grow in both the good and hard days throughout my progressing career journey.
Over the years I’ve been given a series of promotions, finding myself in new positions of leadership and influence. And although I work just as hard today as I did 15 years ago, my current responsibilities are far more complex and span multiple facets of my life. As I try to maintain these ever-growing responsibilities, I find that it requires a great deal of discipline and organization, areas which I can sometimes struggle in. And it’s in these struggles I’ve come to realize that I can either choose to persevere through self-management and strive for perfection or simply draw near to God and daily seek His strength and grace.
But with every promotion and new opportunity of leadership comes the temptation for my career to become an obsession rather than a profession. The long hours and hard work can, at times, push me toward becoming a workaholic or feeling burned out if left unchecked and not continually choosing to surrender to God. An obsessed career can also leave me feeling isolated from those around me, whether by lack of presence or meaningful conversations, and I can easily slip into surface-level conversations, disengaged from those I love most and whom I’ve been given to lead. You see, deep down there can be this drive, fueled by jealousy and a desire to feel valued that entices me to chase titles, wealth, knowledge, and prestige. All the while separating me from my family, friends, the church, and even God.
In recent months, my wife and I started a Bible study together through an awesome app, and we’re reading about the life of David in 1 Samuel. As we observe his life, I realize that even though David possessed great talent, commitment, and prestige from those he was leading, he still needed God’s help and strength to do his job well, including overcoming adversaries. Just through this one example, I know I cannot do my work without God’s help. Over and over again I have to remind myself that I must keep God connected to all areas of my life (including work), not just on Sundays in church.
I must keep God connected to my life and who I am, the lasting part of me: my soul. Dallas Willard describes the soul this way, “what integrates your will (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values and conscience), and your body (your face, body language, and actions) into a single life. The soul seeks harmony, connection, and integration.” We can have that connection with God. Jesus made this possible.
I am thankful for all that God has allowed me to do and for how I’ve gotten here. I am also thankful to work for an organization that recognizes the value of being closed on Sundays to give team members a guaranteed day off to rest, spend time with family, and worship. This #LovingMondays series has challenged me to think about my priorities and how I can connect God to how I work. And I’m excited to see how this series challenges others in recognizing God at work in their work.
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