Life happens in opportunities. Moments when we are given many different ways we could respond. And the Bible teaches us that whenever there is an opportunity we should work for the good of all. Our work, labor, time, energy and resources should be spent on doing good for people. It sounds broad sweeping and it’s supposed to. As long as we are connecting ourselves to the God who wants the best for every person, we won’t grow tired in doing that good.
I work in the staffing industry. Our business provides front of house staff for about 15 different caterers throughout Nashville. A decent portion of my job is spent interviewing applicants, hiring the right ones for the job and getting them properly on-boarded. Every interview I do, at least from my side, is exploratory. I want to know why someone wants to do this kind of work with us, what makes them tick and forecast whether or not it’s a good fit.
People get into this line of work for different reasons. A musician who needs to make ends meet while they pursue their passion. A student who needs a flexible, decent paying job to pay off exorbitant college loans. A 9-5 office person who wants to make some extra cash on the weekends.
I imagine at certain places of business, there are people from similar walks of life coming to an interview. At a pet store applicants probably have a certain conviction about caring for animals. Or an electronic store likely attracts people interested in technology. But with staffing in the catering industry, the crowd is about as homogenous as a random selection of people in Central Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
On one hand you’ve got this extremely well-mannered, kind and professional ex-military man with every credential and certificate relevant to our meeting laminated and ready to give to me. After an interview where we weren’t sure about how much work we’d be able to give him based on scheduling conflicts, he sent me a card in the mail to thank me just for the interview.
And then there’s the guy who showed up looking average in terms of clothing. Well, except for the fact that when he sat down he revealed socks with marijuana leaf designs all over them, about which he snickered when we both looked at them and caught eyes (his had a certain glaze to them). That one didn’t go as well.
In addition to these kinds of differences in professionalism, I've interviewed people from as young as 17 to as old as 73. Others who have more recently immigrated to the United States, and still others who just left their one stoplight hometown in rural North Dakota to join life around the city.
I could keep going. At the end of the day, however, I sit in front of all these people as both a potential employer and as a believer. And the combination of those two things matters, especially if over time they come to learn my story as a person of faith.
In this industry, as diverse as it is, I encounter a decent amount of people who have been beat up by life. Divorce, death, financial hardship, illness, estranged relationships, substance abuse and everything in between are sometimes disclosed to me as early as the interview. It’s sobering. And just as these people have resolved to keep living forward, we do our best to give them just employment, with fair pay and a work environment that consists of some really decent people.
In the Apostle Paul’s strengthening words to the Galatians he pleads with them not to grow weary in doing good, for it will produce a harvest. And because of this, the Galatian community is to take every opportunity to do good to everyone they encounter. And the harvest, what is he referring to? Not accolades or financial gain, but rather people, not unlike those who work with us, whose lives are impacted by the kindness and joy of fellow employees who love God.
I work in the staffing industry. Maybe you are a teacher, a stay at home mom, a plumber, a grocery store associate or a secretary. Regardless, you most likely work around people. And those people can be impacted by your simple choice to do good to them on days and in ways they might not think they even deserve.
So wherever you find yourself, especially among people you interact with day in and day out, know that as a person of faith you have a very significant responsibility to do good to everyone. The world is often hard on people, but we can speak life and be vessels of peace and blessing to those we encounter. What a wonderful privilege!