Blog - Embodying Truth

Showing our Faith by What We Do

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The official-looking envelope from the Department of Licensing reminded me of something I no longer look forward to—my birthday. So, more than a month early, I drove to the licensing office. There, in addition to a new license, I'd get a fresh insight into serving Christ in the workplace.

The congested parking lot foreshadowed the crammed-full waiting room. A can't-miss sign spelled out the routine: take a number. Mine came out 103. Hanging above each clerk's window, a digital readout displayed the number to be served next. The 42 told me to expect a long wait.

To observe a cross-section of the humanity in your area, just spend an hour or two in the local driver-licensing office. If you spend most of your time among church people, the office crowd, or neighbors with lawns, that experience will expand your perspective. Nearly everyone who drives a vehicle on the local public roads will—at some point—pass through that room. And as you take it all in, realize that out on the highway this same mix of people will soon be coming at you at 60-plus miles an hour.

As I sat waiting, I reflected on the workday of the examiners behind the counters. The routine, once mastered, must become a rut. Read the eye chart. Leave your glasses on. Stand on that line for your photo. Take your glasses off. Sign here. No, we don't take credit cards—only cash or checks. Then push the button to advance the digital readout to the next number. In less than a decade such work could easily turn anyone into an automaton.

I heard one of the examiners ask a young father to walk over to the camera. His daughter, who looked to be about 8, tagged along with him. As the examiner prepared the man for his photo, she told the little girl, “Pretty jacket. Do I see a flashing light on it?” The little girl nodded proudly. “Wow!” said the examiner, “I've seen those on shoes, but never on a jacket.” The girl smiled at her new friend.

When my 103 finally flashed on the digital readout, it appeared above that same examiner's work station. I presented the paperwork and my passport for an Enhanced Driver License (EDL). The examiner smiled. “You have a passport that's good for several years,” she said. “Do you really need an EDL?” Her explanation saved me $20.

In the midst of monotonous repetition and that endless stream of often-annoying humanity, this woman maintained her ability to relate to individuals outside the box of bureaucratic policies and procedures. Was she a Christ-follower? I don't know. But in her actions, I saw more clearly that we believers, even when our work is tedious, can trust the Spirit of Christ in us to keep us fresh and vital as we interact with others. Through modern media, countless people know how the good news about Jesus sounds. Through Christians in the workplace, they should be able to see how that good news looks.

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