Working Smarter, Not Harder
As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. – Colossians 1:11-12 (MSG)
“Work smarter not harder” is maybe my least favorite corporate aphorism.
I mean, if we knew how to work smarter instead of harder, don’t you think we’d be doing that already? I argue in my head with the Unknown Corporate Aphorism Creator.
And yet, the truth that we often work harder instead of smarter has come glaringly to light in these long pandemic months. Like yours, our congregation shifted focus, moving to online worship, Zoom meetings, and phone calls instead of bedside visits. In the process, we rediscovered the loveliness of stripped-down liturgy; a new energy in meetings that were not bookended by long commutes; and the simple joy of conversation.
In January of 2020, we could not have imagined the path that God set in front of us, and yet, in conversation with God and with each other, we learned and relearned how to do the work that the Holy One had placed in our care. And when things went well, I noticed that we were all praying a lot more. We prayed for healing in our world, for connection in our congregation, and for our own individual strength in following the path God laid out for us. More time spent in prayer did not detract from our work. Our prayers guided our work, and our work guided our prayers.
In the end, the more we prayed, the better we worked. I guess that’s a work-harder-not-smarter plan I can get behind.
Dear God, continually remind us how you work. Thank you. Amen.
Jennifer Garrison Brownell is pastor of Vancouver United Church of Christ. Her writing appears in the collection, The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms For the Struggle, available from The Pilgrim Press.