I’ve just got to tell you about Valerie. I was with her for just 45 minutes, but it felt like I knew her for years. She was the sole flight attendant from Wash, DC to State College, PA as I was heading to my Leaders Who Last seminar on March 21st.
She totally went above and beyond in carrying out her routine of saying familiar, memorized lines that she is required by law to say on each and every flight.
But unlike most flight attendants who may be as bored giving the spiel as most of us are (not) listening to it, she did it with flare, with a twinkle in her eye, with a smile on her face, with humor and with a warm personal touch. During the short flight she went up and down the aisle chatting it up with everyone instead of sitting in her seat reading as some of them might do.
My first thought was that United had stolen her from Southwest, which specializes in making the boring interesting, fun and actually enjoyable.
Several thoughts ran through my mind:
- I would be inclined to hire her in a minute based on her relationship skills;
- I wish we had more folks like Valerie working at our churches, greeting and making people feel welcomed and loved;
- I had a renewed conviction of how important doing my job well and with joy is, even if there are some aspects of it I don’t like;
I am reminded of the TGIF restaurants, which are a reminder that people can’t wait for the weekend because many don’t like their jobs and are quick to let customers and fellow employees know it. We need to have a TGIM club for those who can’t wait for Monday to arrive and start working, as opposed to longing for Friday to come so they can stop working.
Valerie would be a charter member of TGIM.
A few years ago, I read a book entitled, “Take This Job and Love It.” What a witness it is to the world, when we work wholeheartedly at our jobs and do those jobs with enthusiasm, joy and concern for others like Valerie does.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
-Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
-Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
“Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is a gift from God.”
-Ecclesiastes 5:19 (ESV)
A number of years ago, I heard of a flight attendant very much like Valarie. A gentleman, upon leaving the plane after a very bumpy flight, remarked to her that Delta must be very proud to have her work for them because she did an outstanding job, in less than ideal circumstances. The attendant said, “Why thank you, but I do not work for Delta. I am a Christian. I work with Delta but I work for Jesus.” Now, that is the mindset that the above verses are getting at.
The manner in which we do our work, and the attitude which we have toward our work, sends a strong message to a watching world.
Perhaps you are unemployed and are trusting Jesus to provide and guide in this difficult time. Even then you can be joyful knowing that you serve a sovereign God who loves you and cares about you.
Do you enjoy what Jesus has given you to do? Do you accept your lot, even though you may not always like your lot? Are you thankful that you have work to do? Do you rejoice in your toil, your work, or do you resent it and belong to the TGIF crowd?
Please, think about these questions!