My first job was babysitting for my mom’s friends. These were often late nights, serving little people instead of going out myself. While my friends might be at a party, I’d be holding little hands, having little conversations, playing with little toys. Reading them little books and finally, tucking them into their little beds.

Then in high school came a year of volunteer work as a candy striper at Long Beach Community Hospital. Nowadays the uniforms are gone and they’re simply called volunteers. After graduating high school at 16, I began to train for a job as a medical assistant. I started in the front office, scheduling appointments; then as a back office intern, in the not-so-glamourous job of setting up examining rooms and assisting the doctor in procedures.

Can I just say, none of these jobs were particularly fun or fulfilling—but I learned to show up on time, listen and follow instructions, be courteous to coworkers and act responsibly.

I worked in the doctor’s office for a few years and then I got engaged. After the wedding, Greg and I moved to Riverside. So I quit my job and dove into my new role as domestic engineer.

The greatest challenge was managing and stretching our paycheck. Our grocery budget was a whopping $20 a week! I learned to stretch half a chicken breast to feed our hungry family for dinner. Every item on the grocery list was essential to meal planning for the week—not one thing went to waste. Buying flowers or other nonessentials was a luxury we couldn’t afford.

Back then, earning blue chip stamps rewards from the grocery store was a great incentive. My big bonus one year was collecting enough stamps for a green floral pillow backrest that we used to prop us when reading in bed. (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, just google blue chip stamps!)

We depended on God to provide, and He always did in practical ways. Thankfully, I had great examples of hard work in my father and my grandmother. Also, in those days public schools taught us valuable skills that have been useful my entire life. Most high schools were equipped to teach kids (mostly girls) the foundations of home economics. Do they even do that anymore?

We were taught to balance a checkbook, reconciling a monthly bank statement down to the penny. A tedious chore, yes—but indispensable if you didn’t want to bounce a check!

I learned to use a sewing machine, completing simple projects like making an apron. By the end of semester, I knew how to pin, cut, and assemble more complex creations using a pattern. I learned how to properly stitch a zipper, sew a hem, mend a tear, press a seam, attach a button. All things I still do to this day.

We learned the basics of culinary arts, and while I never went on to win a James Beard award, I do know how to cook simple recipes that taste great. Greg has been the beneficiary of my love for cooking ever since. Home cooking is healthier, cheaper, and better for us—even though now we can afford to eat out!

For almost 50 years I’ve been managing our home, our finances, mothering and grand-mothering. To this day, it is still the most productive and joyful work of my life, serving at home and in my ministry at church, discipling women.

A job? Or a calling?

Enough reminiscing—let me get to the point and ask, what value do you place in the work you do? Is it a calling, endowed with God’s blessing and purpose, or do you see it as just a job?

In Proverbs, we are taught principles that serve as a steady, practical guide for us—they train our perspective on work.

“Diligent hands will rule…there is profit in all labor, but mere talk leads to poverty.” That’s in Proverbs 12:24 and 14:23.

We all need to eat—and physical hunger is a great motivator! We need to physically survive, and that is sufficient reason for learning valuable life skills. Because if you don’t find work to do, you will end up doing work you are forced to do. And that may not be so rewarding.

But the deeper background behind the principles in Proverbs are found in the book of Genesis. We see in the very first book of the Bible that God, too, is a worker. We see our Creator with His hands in the dirt, creating man, forming all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky, and planting a garden (Genesis 2). God created a paradise for His children and called the work itself one of the good things!

In His earthly ministry, Jesus showed us how to work—even when we are tired, undervalued, taken advantage of, receiving no thanks. But God has given us His Holy Spirit, working in us and through us, to faithfully accomplish His purposes and make a difference in this world.

…as unto the Lord

For this reason, there is dignity in doing our work as unto to the Lord, in harmony with His design for our lives. Whether you work in the home or outside the home—or both! Whether you are compensated by a paycheck or freely devoting your time and energy into family or ministry.

In every situation and calling, a job well done is a way to glorify God. Can you see this in your life? Our work, our vocation, is a blessing from God. It is not to be neglected, dreaded, or degraded. God sees your work and He honors your humble-hearted service.


“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)