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Pastor Rudy Sheptock

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Working hard is one of my character traits.  

My parents expected their kids to always be a part of completing necessary chores to keep the family running smoothly. We had specific assignments, and there were consequences if we didn’t follow through. 

I didn't mind completing some chores expected of me. I loved cutting the grass and even washing the dishes, but changing my younger siblings' dirty diapers was never my cup of tea. It did, however, prepare me for when I had kids.  

I also excelled in cleaning. My mechanical skills may be non-existent, but after I am done with cleaning the bathroom, germs are not left alive.  

I worked many hours through high school and college in the custodial field, and while others might deem it as nothing more than menial labor, the schools I was responsible for were immaculate and noticeably better. Whatever I did, I felt like I wasn’t just doing it for a paycheck, but instead, I wanted to honor God with my efforts. 

One of the jobs that helped me understand that I could turn a boring occupation into an act of sanctification was when I worked at a carwash, in Madison.  

My parents had a habit of always volunteering me as a potential staff person to their friends, which is how I ended up doing 10-hour sessions of nothing more than drying the same side of every car that bought a bath on any given Saturday. At first, I would watch the clock constantly because I couldn’t wait for quitting time.  

Have you ever noticed that when you keep checking the time, it never seems to move? It was then I made a crucial paradigm shift with my attitude.  

I used the car wash's noisiness as an advantage. It was so loud where I was that I could scream at the top of my lungs and nobody would hear me, so I began to sing my way through the day.  

I actually worshipped and praised God as each car rolled by, and I even wrote a tune or two during that period of my life. 

What does the Bible teach about work and worship? For one thing, labor was a part of man’s life before sin entered the scene.  

Work is not a punishment. Sin's curse has rendered what should be life-giving to becoming nothing more than an empty exercise of strength draining proportion.  

Did you know that the Bible teaches that we will work and worship in heaven?  

Adam loved checking off his God-given assignments when he walked with the Lord in the Garden of Eden. God tasked Adam with dressing and guarding the garden and naming the animals, just to mention a few of his tasks. Everything was running quite smoothly until disobedience ruined the routine.  

With the fall of man and woman came the pain, toil and heartbreak that would become synonymous with our jobs. The necessity for work is built into our DNA. The frustration that steals the joy of getting the duties done with singing is a pure product of pursing our agendas, rather than surrendering to the Savior completely. 

I believe that we need to work for our fulfillment. Retiring to become idle is not as healthy a move as we make it sound.  

God created us to serve Him in whatever we do, wherever we do it. Laziness is not a fruit of the Spirit. Wasting our abilities is like flushing the precious gem of time down the drain.  

The Lord has equipped us all with particular passions that pursuing them with all of our hearts should be a no brainer. Life has the potential to be an adventurous launch of lasting legacies.  

One of the best ways to make a difference forever is by doing what we can do with nothing less than excellence and the highest of standards. Integrity and quality are essential ingredients of the recipe for real promotion.  

Even if nobody else appreciates or pays attention to our contributions in the workplace, God knows, which why I always want to be thankful and not take it for granted that I get to do what I love for a living and do it for and with the One I love more than life. 

Mankind was not created to hide in the breakroom, sit on the bench, or find solace on the disabled list. We are more in tune with heaven and ourselves when we do what we do for the Lord on earth. 

Have you noticed in the Scriptures that God called people to join Him while they were working?  

Moses and David were caring for the sheep under their supervision. Joshua was Moses’ servant before he became Moses’ successor. Amos was a farmer, and Gideon was threshing wheat when God called him.  

Ezekiel was preparing to be a priest when Jehovah made him a prophet. Jesus called four fishermen and a tax-collector to serve as His disciples. Jesus worked as a carpenter, and Paul was a tentmaker.  

We are completer and more satisfied when we are active, not passive. Christianity is not something that can happen from an easy chair's safety.  

Jesus challenged all of us to follow Him, which means we need to get up, get going, and dedicate our bodies as instruments for the Master. 

For many of the jobs I had, my boss turned out to be my father. There might be the assumption that because I was related to the one in charge, I would take advantage of the relationship and do just enough to get by, but that was never the case. My goal was to work harder than any other man there because I wanted my dad to be proud and his name to stay respected.  

Could it be that those who watch us from the outside are not impressed with God because we aren’t representing Him well by always doing our absolute best for Him? Christians should be the hardest working, most reliable and trustworthy individuals on any team because the Holy Spirit within us empowers us to do extraordinary tasks. 

Thanksgiving is a time to be appreciative of all that we have been blessed with rather than whining and complaining about all that we don’t have. How will we ever be faithful with more responsibility if we don’t take care of what we have already been given?  

The size of the church I have the privilege to pastor has never been an issue for me. Salary and material compensation have never been the driving force of what I do either because no matter what, I have witnessed God always providing for our needs. I will tell you though, that if I can’t do it with gusto and all that is within me to bring honor and glory to Jesus, I don’t want to do it at all. 

I am not a pastor. I’m Rudy. I am not what I do and neither are you. 

We need to be the individuals God made us to be, and we need to always be willing to provide our absolute best. No sloppy leftovers for the Lord. He deserves our prime ribnot leftover crumbs.  

When did Jesus ever not give us anything but His best? If we want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant” when our closing time arrives, we need to finish strong for the Lord. 

Can you pray this with me?  - “Dear Lord, thank you for making me unique and special. Thank you for equipping me with specific talents and abilities. Make my life a living time of worship.  

"Whatever I do, I want to do it for an audience of You. Give me the perseverance to not quit, even when I am not recognized or given credit for my efforts. Remind me often that You see and know everything, and Your approval is what I need more than anything.  

"Draw me into humble obedience of your calling, and make me willing to do Your will and way in my day. To God be the glory, now and always, amen.” 

ED. NOTE: The author is the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church, 1248 Route 9 South, Court House. 

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