Mercy Hill Church - Work Different: Confessions of a Former Barista Blog

Work Different: Confessions of a Former Barista

I worked for a world-renowned coffee shop for ten years. My first two weeks on the job were very difficult. Being an introvert, I found engaging in conversation with complete strangers to be very difficult. The social aspects combined with the vast memorization required for working proficiently made me want to quit after two weeks. But I was a starving artist at the time and needed the income, so I kept at it.

Fast forward. I looked back and loved my first year there, everything was new and exciting. Every season brought new challenges and experiences. I grew a ton in my ability to converse with just about anyone. I mastered my job and was promoted. After receiving a promotion and a transfer to a different store, the honeymoon period was over. The new position was harder and more frustrating. The “fun” elements seemed to be disappearing. My vocational ambitions were elsewhere, and I wanted to move on. Unfortunately, this transition was taking place in 2008. For those who are financially minded, that’s when the economy tanked. Therefore, I was going nowhere.

Is Work Really a Gift?

I was not able to transition out of the world of coffee. I was blessed to just have a job. Yet, I was not happy; I was frustrated and confused about what to do. The joy I once had at work was no longer there and everyday was utter drudgery. I didn’t want to be there anymore. Knowing that God is Sovereign, I was angry that he had not let me leave. I saw my work as trivial, pointless, and burdensome. I resented not being paid more and felt owed by the company, which affected my desire to work hard. My attitude was less than Christ honoring at work, childish even.

I wanted work to give me an identity, an importance and satisfaction that it could not. I remember hearing a sermon during those days that pushed me towards a reality that I did not want to admit. The speaker said that it wouldn’t matter if I made $40,000 or $400,000 a year, I would still be me. More money does not equate to working harder, the same work ethic would remain. I realized the problem was me.

The Gospel Changes Work

I would go on to learn that much of what I was experiencing was due to missing how the gospel changes our work. You see, I felt owed. I felt like if I could just make more money or have the job I always dreamed of, then I would be okay. The reality is I could have obtained both of those things and still ended up in the same miserable spot. My job could not give me what I wanted; it was never meant to. The identity, significance, and satisfaction I was looking for could only be found in the love and acceptance of God, in and through Jesus Christ.

As I repented of these things, I began to see how the gospel shapes my work. I stopped working for me and for my employer. I started working for an audience of one, God himself. My labors were directed towards the God I love. Every time I made a latté, I made it as if it were for God. In other words, I made it with excellence in order to honor and show my love for God. I took out the trash and cleaned bathrooms as a means to worship God. I stopped thinking that I was owed something and realized that I owed everything to the one who lived the life I should have lived and died the death that I deserved. I owe everything to Jesus, but instead of trying to work to pay him back, I work out of gratitude and humility. I serve others because I have been served immensely.

There is a growing movement of God in the workplace as Christians around the globe begin to re-imagine how the gospel changes their work. City Life plays a small part in inviting college students into that movement. I want to personally invite you to join the movement this summer by participating in City Life and learn to work different.

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Come to the Missions Expo – February 13th, 7:00 – 8:00pm, Regional Campus

– Jon Sheets College Ministry Director