Work Ethic

“If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”

“We’re paying you to work, not read magazines.”

“There is always something to do.”

When I was a teenager my parents owned and operated a couple of small grocery stores.  The above quotes are things that I heard them say many times over the years.  I am sure that it was influential in the development of my own work ethic.  Since I worked for my parents I did not want to have a reputation for getting away with being a slackard, I wanted to be an example of a good worker.

I started working at the stores when I was in the 8th grade.  My first official job was unloading the milk truck three times  a week.  I would price and stock the product.  It took only about an hour an a half each time.  It was good for a little pocket money.  When I was sixteen I started working regular shifts, both as a stocker and cashier.  By the time I was seventeen I was ordering product, making deposits, conducting interviews, etc.  I worked about twenty four hours a week during the school year, and full time in the summers.  After graduating from high school I went to work full time. 

After working for my parents for about a year and a half after high school, I decided that I did not want to work in the family business.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted a job that I could just go to work and then go home.  The store was a job that was always present.  It was a topic of conversation at the dinner table and even when we had company. 

It is ironic that I wanted a job where I just punched a clock, because now, many years later I work two jobs, neither of which involve a clock.  I am a pastor and a college instructor. 

There is always work to do.

I am never off the clock.  There is no clock.

The problem is, that since there is no clock, and no end to the work that could be done I have to be careful not to become a workaholic.  Church work, school work, work at home, they all blur together.  Things are done according to priority. 

In eighteen years, there has never been a time when everything was done. 

I hear people say that no one on their death bed ever looks back and says that they wish they had spent more time at the office, and yet, I don’t want to be lazy. 

As in so much of life, the key is in finding the appropriate balance.  Work hard, but recognize that there is more to life than work.

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3 Responses to “Work Ethic”

  1. Gloria Says:

    It really is ‘funny’ that you got out of the family business in search of a 9 – 5 job and yet here you are in a round the clock – never ending job. It must be in the family genes!!
    My take on all of it is that you still work way too hard – but you do take a day off each week which is way more than many do. That could be because you are in it for the long journey. Ministry is not a sprint.

  2. LisaB Says:

    Awww, Play, Schmay! There’ll be time enough for play when we’re dead and gone to heaven! (Note: I am, of course, just being facetious here!) Kinda scary though sometimes how often we can come across people that one could almost be certain that THAT is their motto though or at the very least, they think that OUGHT to be everybody ELSE’s motto.

  3. Pastor Curt Says:


    I am confident that I would not still be here if I did not practice a sabbath rest.

    Lisa, I try not to live my life by other people’s expectations, but their opinions still have an effect.

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