News - Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Worship We Go

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Worship We Go

By Carla Morris

pedestriansWhen conversations on campus turn to “worst job from my past,” G.U. employees recall plenty of miserable tales from former workplaces:

  • The Häagen-Dazs server who developed carpal tunnel from scooping ice cream kept in a “too cold” freezer.
  • The frenzied nightshift nurse who juggled watching heart monitors with meeting urgent needs in the emergency room and admitting patients.
  • The forklift operator, an achiever by nature, removing boxes from shelves all day every day, only to see the shelves immediately fill again.

Poor equipment, shifting priorities, unreasonable expectations and distrustful supervisors undermine positivity every day on the job. And it’s too bad, because research tells us that a worker’s positive mindset boosts more than a sense of personal wellbeing; it improves engagement, collaboration, creativity and productivity.

Cultivating Habits That Increase Positivity

We can increase positivity at work by cultivating certain daily habits, says Shawn Achor, author of New York Times bestseller The Happiness Advantage (Currency 2010). He advocates little routines, like writing down three things for which you are grateful each day, or taking two minutes to “journal” about your most meaningful experience in the past 24 hours.

Mark Owens-SquareEmployees at Greenville University have their own versions of mindful gratitude at work. At a Strategy 52 retreat last winter, participants explored the idea of giving their work as worship. As the conversation flowed, images emerged of elevated purpose and divine partnership in the workaday world.

“In our department, we start every day with a short devotion and prayer,” says Director of Facilities Mark Owens MBA ’17. His team prays for safety, wisdom to perform their jobs well and the ability to see others through Jesus’ eyes.

Controller Barb Sands serves internal and external constituents on finance-relatedBarb Sands-Square issues. “But ultimately I serve the Lord,” she says. She cites Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart . . . It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving.” As she drives to work, she asks God to fill her with a kind, loving and grateful heart. These sacred moments often influence her response once the phone starts ringing.

David Kessinger-SquareEach day, Director of Financial Aid David Kessinger ’94 guides students and their families through a maze of rigid federal, state and institutional regulations in search of funds that might relieve financial stress. If worship begins with turning one’s grateful heart heavenward, David worships with each solution he finds. “I’m thankful to our Lord for providing the resources,” he says.

Grant writer and researcher Jennifer Wilson prays with her co-workers in the OfficeJennifer Wilson-Square of Advancement three mornings each week, often for specific projects. “Prayers for our work are consecrations,” she says. “We dedicate who we are and what we do to God for His purpose and glory.”

More Than Happy

The image Jennifer paints transcends personal happiness and approaches the threshold of joy, much like the Psalmist who proclaims, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” 

Note: Fifty-two weeks each year, Greenville University employees work to create an environment where students thrive. Strategy 52 retreats are designed to help employees thrive too, by fostering renewal and facilitating deeper connections with co-workers and with God. A version of this article first appeared in the Summer 2018 RECORD.

Learn More

Personal stories from our extended university family about work, vocation and God's call

When you fund a G.U. scholarship, you help students understand work as a response to the risen Christ who fills, equips and sends them. Thank your for giving.

This story was published on July 16, 2018




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