I’ll Do Anything But…

My boss was a busy woman with a doughnut shop to run, plus a family at home to care for. One little surprise –a caboose, they sometimes say– arrived just before she hired me. So when she needed to hire another employee for the shop a year later, I offered to help her select someone.

Glad for my offer to help, she handed me a stack of resumés and said I should look through them, pick a couple of possibilities and call them in for an interview with her on such and such an afternoon.

Applicants usually came in every few days with resumés to leave with us in the hopes there would be a job opening, so my boss had collected a fair stack at that time; the next day I went through it. One young man applying had concluded his resumé with an interesting note; I smiled and read it aloud to Pam, my coworker.

He’d written, “I’m willing to do anything except janitor-type work for minimum wage.”

Pam answered, “What does he think we do all day?” And we both laughed.

What do employees at a fast food place do all day? True, you serve customers and restock cups and such light work. But during slack times you clean off tables, empty garbage, sweep and/or scrub floors, wipe counters, clean bathrooms, soak or scrape hardened icing off steel shelving and the floor beneath. You wipe down walls that get splashed, dividers, table pedestals, chair legs; if you have enough time you clean the kitchen or get down on your hands and knees and clean the baseboards, which are grubby from being swished by the mop every day.

In other words, you do a lot of “janitor-type work” and don’t get paid what a professional janitorial service would. Employees at that time usually started at minimum wage and got their first raise after three months.

One girl started working at our doughnut shop with the mistaken idea that she should stand behind the counter and ring in the sales while the rest of us gathered together the order. I’d go to charge my customers once their orders were complete; they’d point and say, “I paid her already.”

That doesn’t work.  Each employee took a customer’s order and filled it themselves, then rang in that one order. Otherwise you had confusion and very messed up figures on the till tape when stuff had to be cancelled – or wasn’t when it should have been. She was not what you’d call a valued co-worker and she didn’t stay once it sank in that she’d have to clean & scrub regularly, too.

Employees who weren’t willing to do their share of the janitor-type work just didn’t last.

Even though I got a chuckle out of this young applicant’s comment, I had to appreciate his honesty.  He was not going to begin this job and then not be satisfied with it. Really, it’s better to be up front than to eagerly accept the position and then not be willing for the work involved, or try to shove the tough stuff off on his co-workers. I’ve seen where one employee gets away with that for a time and it makes for bad feelings and grumbles all through the staff.

Then I wonder how it is with those of us in the Lord’s employ? Do we understand the job specs when we ask to be His servants? When we say, “I’ll do anything for the Lord,” do we mean anything?

Are we willing to get down on our knees and pray for lost souls – or scrub the church basement? We may be asked to share our testimony with the congregation – or dish out food at the Conference. Are we willing even if it means we are among the last diners ourselves? Are we just as willing to babysit the nursery class as be the highly visible choir director?

Our congregation has a parochial school and owns a house for the teachers to live in. Several days ago the furnace quit at the teacherage (O° F was the outside temp) and our School Board members were there all day replacing cracked water pipes. Not their favourite occupation, I’m sure, but needed to prevent a serious flood in the house.

Thank God for church janitors, dish washers, PA system operators, sewing circles, sandwich makers for fellowship lunches, etc. They keep the Gospel train running on its tracks.

The Lord promises He will repay faithful service all through eternity and His reward is worth far more than all the tasks we can do for Him – both in this life and in the world to come.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Matthew 25:34-36

Following the Master Servant

Have I looked with distain
on the small tasks at hand
forgetting the example of my Lord
Who walked dusty roads to find me?

Have I looked with scorn at a
grubby job, a servant’s role,
when my Lord stooped to wash
His followers’ feet – and my sins?

Have I despised the humble corner
He’s assigned to me, the drudgery,
forgetting how He carried that
heavy cross so I could be free?

Free from burdens and sorrow;
free to walk golden streets;
at liberty to enjoy the glories
of a mansion in eternity!

Lord, I would serve You truly,
without grudging or complaint;
deliver me from foolish pride
and bless me with a servant’s heart.

Christine Goodnough


2 thoughts on “I’ll Do Anything But…

  1. deliver me from foolish pride, and bless me with a servant’s heart What a prayer Lord help to pray this each morning before I leave the house, Amen. Great Post! Lord bless my sister in Christ with the desires of her heart, Amen. James


    • Thanks for your prayer, James. It’s a lot easier to “aspire to” than to practice it when others want to dump all the tough stuff on us, isn’t it?
      I pray the Lord will continue to give you an open way to exemplify the love of God in your workplace, too. I also pray that someday we’ll meet in that Eternal Kingdom of Christ and greet each other as brother & sister face to face, when all the desires of our hearts are realized.


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