Your Work Can Be Your Ministry
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. – Philippians 1:3-4 (MSG)
I once asked Jim Cope, then a full-time dentist and part-time licensed minister, how being a dentist connects with the church. He shared with me something he had written for his church newsletter:
“Over the years, the one aspect of general dentistry that I have enjoyed is caring for families. I have spent many appointments drying the tears of someone who has just lost a spouse, child, or loved one, giving comfort to someone facing surgery or diagnosed with a terminal illness, listening to someone in the midst of divorce, and laughing with someone over the ‘joys of parenthood.’ I cherish these parts of my day immensely, maybe even more so than the actual fixing of teeth. … When the day is done and I think over the encounters I have had, these people are in my thoughts and prayers.”
What a beautiful reminder this is that every type of work can be a ministry. Anyone who deals with people can be a loving pastoral presence, even someone heading toward your aching tooth with a drill!
Many of us don’t look forward to going to the dentist. But the manner and attitude of the dentist can make all the difference. And let’s not forget to include the dental hygienist, the receptionist, the clerk at the grocery store, and the bank teller who cashed your check that morning. All of us can approach our work as our ministry.
Gracious God, allow me to do my work with a loving heart and a prayerful manner, so that I may be a blessing in someone’s life today. Amen.
A version of this devotion by Lillian Daniel appears in This Is How We Begin: Devotionals and Prayers to Start Meetings, a collection of reflections to prompt committee conversations. Order This Is How We Begin here.