Most of us go to work to earn money, pay our bills,
have a night out every now and then, try and put some
money in savings or investments. Work for most of us
isn't a labor of love, but a means to an end. Does
that mean that all of our work is a waste of time if we
don't love it? I don't know about a waste of time if
it is providing us with many of the things that we want,
but I don't think that Khalil's use of the word
"empty" is synonymous with the idea of wasting
time--rather, "empty" means unfulfilling,
And doing our work with love isn't the same as doing our
work that we love. We don't even have to
particularly like our jobs in order to do them with love.
I have done "empty" work, especially when it's
been busy work that's served no real purpose (this
happened a lot in the Army!), but usually, the
gratification that I have or haven't gotten from my work
has depended on what I've given it.
The most important questions we can ask ourselves are
these: Could anyone else in the world come in here
and do this work exactly how I do it? and Am I staying
focused on doing my absolute best and turning this work
into a personal triumph, or am I just getting by until the
end of the day when I can clock out?
If we're doing our very best and contributing our unique
abilities and perspectives, we can be sure that we're not
doing empty work, no matter how others may react.
I've seen people who turn their jobs at Wal Mart into a
chance to brighten the days of the customers with cheerful
greetings and compliments and encouragement for the kids,
and I've seen gloomy Wal Mart associates that I don't even
want to go near because it looks like they'll get angry at
me. Which ones are doing the empty work, and which
are doing work that's fulfilling to them?
The bottom line is that work is empty if we don't bring
love to it. Work is fulfilling if we bring love to
it, whether it's work in our gardens or at our place of
employment. How we bring love is up to us, and it
depends upon our gifts and abilities. But bring it
we must, if our work is to mean anything to us, to the
people we work with, to the people we work for, and to the
people we serve with our work.