Scorched hands, greasy fingers and slippery floors are the things that come to mind when I remember my time in the fast food industry. Little red marks would appear all the way up my arm from the oil spitting out of the fryers. And the stagnant smell of oil, nuggets and chips would cling to my trousers well after the third wash.
But what grated most weren’t the lingering smells or hot fries but the grumpy customers who treated you without a thread of dignity. It was a job with little respect, but in doing it I learnt valuable lessons, especially around the way to view my work and how to apply myself fully. These principles have carried through into my future roles.
Serving the Lord
The bus schedule always left me with a good half hour to kill before my shift started, so I made a habit of sitting down in a nearby park and reading some of the Bible before facing the row of spitting fryers and cursing customers.
One day I came across the following:
Colossians chapter 3, verse 22-24 – ‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’
Here we see that slaves are instructed that the work they do in serving their earthly masters is actually towards God, not men. I applied this principle to my job: it might be menial work, but if it’s for God I was going to make sure those French fries were cooked to perfection.
My heavenly boss
I was working in fast food to get some cash to help out during college - it was hardly a job where I was looking for favour to advance my career. But it was still a job, and God was watching. So I started working on an attitude of doing all my work aiming to please Him, not my boss. I started cooking french fries for God in a greasy, dim lit kitchen.
As I progressed in my career as a motion designer I went through different stages with different bosses. I had nicer offices than that first kitchen, with glass walls, cushy chairs and rows of monitors. I had bosses that I really did want to please, but ultimately I kept returning to the same lesson I learnt before: work for God, not men.
Instead of striving to please and gain favour with my earthly master (i.e. by working hard whenever he’s around), I should strive to please my real master, the eternal omniscient Father. I should work hard consistently, knowing that my Father sees what is done in secret. And how much better is the reward of the heavenly master over our earthly bosses!
No matter how lowly and menial a task, if done for the Lord Jesus Christ it takes on a whole new meaning. Even chicken’n’chips can bring glory to God.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html