Building the ark was a daunting task for Noah. With only his three sons to help him (Genesis 6:10; 7:13), he built a boat that was approximately 450-500 feet long, 75-85 feet wide, and 45-50 feet tall. Using the tools available at the time, this feat could have taken him 120 years (Genesis 6:3). During those 120 years, Noah no doubt dealt with ridicule from his neighbors. The people around him would have thought it absurd that water might cover the whole earth. People likely laughed at the man building the big boat. Noah must have persevered with extraordinary dedication through the mocking and laughing to accomplish his task.
Noah had to prepare his mind to appreciate the significance of his work in order to complete it. The mindset you bring to your work significantly affects what you will get out of it. Kenman Wong and Scott Rae summarize this idea well in their book Business for the Common Good.
Our job may not feel like we are doing God‘s will, but how it feels to us and what it actually is may be two very different things. … Our work can well be our ministry [because ultimately we] all serve God full-time. … The term full-time ministry should be used to refer to one’s attitude toward service more than an arena of service. The term should describe an orientation toward serving God, rather than specific activities … that are deemed to be serving God.
Building a boat may not have seemed like a spiritual thing to do, but Noah’s dedication to that work honored God. Your dedication to your work—or your dedication to serving God through your work—is a spiritual decision you must make every day. You can choose to be dedicated to your work every day. Here are three things you can do each day to help you develop that dedication.
1. Show up
Make sure you are dedicated enough to your work to show up at the appropriate time. In fact, make sure that you are at your workplace early so that you can be ready when your day begins.
When you show up, make sure all of you shows up. Have the right mindset when you get to work, so you know that you are there to work. When you leave at the end of the day, make sure you know what you should focus on when you arrive the next day. That will help you start the next day with the right mindset as well.
2. Work hard
Show your dedication through what you do while you are at your job. When you are at work, make sure you work hard. That is what you are there for. That is what you get paid for. And that is what you want to be known for.
Use your time wisely on the job. Pour your whole self into what you do. Remember that you are not just working for your boss; you are ultimately working for God (Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22-23).
3. Avoid distractions
When you are on the job, make sure that you stay focused on what you are there to do. Do not allow yourself to be distracted. You are not paid to be distracted. Even if others want you to slack off, don’t join in. You are there to work.
Keep your head in your work. Do not allow yourself to entertain resentment, accusations, or anger against your boss or your colleagues. That will not help you. That will only drag you down and prevent you from putting forth your best effort.
Your dedication has little to do with what kind of work you do, and much to do with the attitude you bring to it. Choose to be a light that burns brightly where you work, regardless of how dark you feel your workplace is. You could be the brightest light that any of your colleagues will ever see.
This article has been adapted from the #1 international bestselling book, Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew.
To find out more about Dear Employee, or to purchase a copy of the book, click here.