The Value of What You Do

09.18.09 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[2]

I was working on scheduling music for the network this morning - a task that takes hours each week to accomplish - and when I was finished I thought to myself, "Good, that's done for another week."  I looked down at the screen displaying some of the song titles we've added recently - Phil Stacey's "You're Not Shaken", Casting Crowns' "Until The Whole World Hears", Kutless' "What Faith Can Do" - and I began to think about the strength of the lyrics in those songs.  That reminded me of an email I received earlier in the week from a listener who was particularly moved by a song we played that met her at a specific point of need; one of those crossroads we all face where the direction we choose will have a significant impact on our life. 

And I felt slightly convicted. 

My first reaction to getting the programming done was, 'good, now I can move on to other things'; it was an item checked off my to-do list, feeding the animal that is a growing radio network for another week.  But it's so much more than that.

I sat there for a few minutes and pondered the impact all the songs we play have on listeners.  I thought about the lyrics; I thought of the constant stream of emails and comments from people telling how a song has encouraged them, convicted them, lifted them up when they were feeling really down or made them want to get up and shout for joy because of what the Lord means in their life.  Songs are powerful tools God can use to minister to us and even though I know that and I've been doing this for years, in that moment of "getting the job done", I overlooked the most important thing:  I wasn't just scheduling music, I was weaving a tapestry that God was going to use to speak to people.    

I offer that as an encouragement to you because we're all prone to overlooking "the most important thing."  In our home and work responsibilities, we have tasks that must be accomplished and they're not always fun to do.  But they're things God has called us to do.  When we work in retail and we offer a genuine smile to a customer rather than a mindless "have a nice day", we make a difference in their day.  When we're busy but we make the time to listen to a friend who needs our ear - not advice, just someone to listen - we might be helping them in ways we couldn't anticipate.  When we're in traffic and we allow someone to pull into the lane in front of us, even though we don't have to, and even though they're going to drive 30 miles per hour in a 45, we show kindness that isn't required, it's offered.     

The value of what we do isn't measured by our productivity on the job; the value comes in seeing beyond the immediate and believing that our actions can have an impact, far beyond measure, on the lives of those around us.      


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 10.03.09 Sheila commented

I have found in my job as an RN in a nursing home environment, there are many tasks that need to be accomplished for the 160 residents in our building. Tasks to meet their basic needs - food, hygiene, clothing, activities etc. But, we get so busy taking care of all these things in our 8 hours with these folks, that we forget to spend real quality time with them - getting to know who they are and what their histories are. I have come to realize that even the person with severe dementia and Alzheimer's disease are still a person deep down. We made not be able to see it, but they are there and they matter. Everyone has a history and are full of stories they want to share with us. Busyness is no excuse for not listening and showing someone who has nothing genuine kindness and compassion. We never know the impact we have on others when we show Christ love to others.

I have often found this true not only with the residents but with my fellow co-workers who are under tremendous stress in their personal lives. All they want and need is a listening ear, someone to show them empathy and genuinely ask about their well-being each day. A smile, a genuine "how are you" can make all the difference to someone for the entire day. We are called as believers to show Christ love to others. I hope I make a difference each an every day I am at work doing what I was called to do.

on 10.04.09 Brian G. commented

These comments remind me of a true story I heard some years ago that marked me at that time, and I still remember the story.

There was a couple who had been married many years. When the husband died, his wife discovered that her husband had a safety deposit box at a bank that she was completely unaware of.

With thoughts of uncertainty, she went to the bank to find the safety deposit box, not knowing what it could contain. When she opened the box, she found an envelope addressed to her. There was a handwritten letter from her husband thanking her for being such a wonderful wife and companion for all these years, for being so faithful, supportative and loving - making his life worthwhile.

While the letter deeply moved her, she now also questioned why her husband never professed any of these feelings or made any mention of these things during the actual time they were married? It wasn't that he was bad or abusive, but it was just that he never had communicated any of those appreciative thoughts during all those years. And now she wondered just how much better their marriage could have been had he admitted some of those feelings and encouraged her all along.

The scriptures call us to encourage, strengthen and to edify one another. Obviously it is important to maintain the inner knowledge that our daily actions and work can affect people that we may mever know of (unless they tell us), it is just as important to let people know when they have touched us in some way.

Christ forewarned us that following Him would not always be easy. Paul's writings sure make this point. Yet most of Paul's letters were written as encouragement to the various churches that had been started. One might wonder how well those churches would have done without that sincere encouragement.

Sheila, your comments hit home as I have recently spent time visiting relatives in such environments. It is obvious how overworked many of the employees are. Yet it is also clear how a small token of affection or kind words can have an effect not always obvious to those speaking or giving those gestures. It also reminds me that it wasn't too long ago, that most homes had extended families living there, with older relatives or grandparents being part of the family and being cared for.... how things have changed.

Likewise Cecil, I can't remember all the times when I was in a frump of some sort and heard some song playing on FLN that either convicted me on some level or encouraged me. Sometimes it's a song I have heard many times before, but will have a much more profound effect in a moment of wondering, doubt or need. Likewise, a song can greatly enhance or sum up a good day.

I would suspect a majority of FLN listeners like Chip Ingram. But for me, James MacDonald hits the nail on the head more often than not. I thank the Lord for using James as much as He has. And now I frequently go to his website to hear teachings I may have missed on FLN. But if it weren't for his show broadcast on FLN, I likely may never have heard of him.

Christ teaches us to be a light and to be the salt of the earth. Even a small nightlight can illuminate a room enough to walk though it. And it only takes a touch of salt to improve a meal.

Maybe it’s just human nature to want to make a BIG impact… to do something of great importantance. I’m guilty of that thinking sometimes. Yet with age and experience, it’s become obvious that the small gestures of encouragement can become much bigger and important than we may ever know.