Copyright © 1998 John D. Beckett, Loving Monday: 159-162.
IN A FEW MINUTES, your plane will be touching down, taxiing to the gate, and you'll be on your way, having completed this book.
You may have wondered, Why the title Loving Monday?" Let me tell you the story.
As the manuscript neared completion, my editor, Dick Leggatt, and I were visiting publishers. On one trip, we had completed a busy day and were about to board a Southwest jet back to Cleveland. It was Friday afternoon, the flight completely full—mostly with weary business travelers.
"Hold on there," the flight attendant called out from inside the plane. "What are you two guys doing with your ties on? Whaddya think this is—a Delta flight?"
Dick and I grinned, gave a yank on our ties and said, "No way. We're heading home for the weekend."
Once we were shoehorned into our seats and airborne, the Southwest attendants continued to engage the passengers in light banter. Everyone was fair game, and everyone enjoyed it. The flight crew was making their work fun—providing quality service, complying with FAA rules, but injecting some lightheartedness into the wind-up of the business week for those 120 homeward-bound business travelers.
En route, Dick and I discussed book titles. We'd already considered almost a hundred possibilities without finding just the right one. "Dick," I said, "I think this is the hardest part of this whole writing project!"
"Whoa, Bessie," bellowed the flight attendant as the plane touched down. Laughter rippled up and down the aisles.
"That flight was actually enjoyable," Dick remarked as the plane pulled up to the gate.
The next morning was Saturday. My intent was to sleep in a bit, but I couldn't. My mind turned again to the bewildering task of finding a title. One idea, then another, then another. Then it hit. Loving Monday, I thought. That's it! The attendants on that flight made their work fun. If they were living for Friday, they sure didn't show it. I'll bet they love Mondays as much as I do!
Thus the title was born. As I tried it out on others, the response was enthusiastic. But more than liking a title, they liked the idea. "I hear too many people grumble about Mondays," was a typical comment. Then they would add, "But I don't see it that way. I love Mondays. Always have."
Actually, the whole idea of work has gotten a bum rap in our Western culture. As with so many distortions from the biblical norm, we've come to associate work with drudgery and futility, not dignity and fulfillment. But an esteemed place for work was actually initiated by God himself, the one who right from the first verse of the Bible was committed to work—creating the heavens and the earth, then sustaining everything he created. But God also knew how to rest. "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested," says the Genesis account. Created as we are in the image of God, it's almost as though men and women were made to work, then judiciously to rest. It's like a rhythm, built into the human cycle of life. Both are important, even essential.
I think of this intended cycle as I remember George, a hard-working employee who started with our company just after World War II. He had seen the worst of the war in the Pacific as a seaman in the U.S. Navy. Somehow the disciplines he'd learned carried over to his job as an assembler of oil burners. Remarkably, when he retired after nearly thirty years, George had not missed a single day of work. Sure, he'd had some minor illnesses and occasionally had to fight bad weather to get to work. But he was there. George was always there, almost always healthy.
But then, with his retirement, he stopped working. At first he would still get up at five, just the way he used to. But before long he began sleeping in. George became bored with his life. Within months, illnesses cropped up and left him debilitated. Then discouragement hit. He'd lost his sense of purpose. A key aspect of his life was gone. Sadly, within a few years George died, missing most of the retirement he had anticipated for so many years. His work had become a more vital part of his life than he or anyone else realized.
One of the purposes of this book is to give you a fresh zeal for your work—both now and in future years. In summary, here are some of the key concepts which undergird truly rewarding work and vocation.
Work is a high calling, not secondary in value. We should endeavor to stay within our areas of gifting, in the spheres we've been allotted. Work takes on added dignity as we regard each person we contact in business with great respect, and as we function in a framework of excellence and integrity. It is essential that our success never be at the expense of our soul—there is more to consider than the bottom line. The norms and values rooted in the Bible can serve as a compass in this regard, on seas that can be turbulent and treacherous.
A sense of purpose emerges as we look for opportunities to serve one another in our work, and as we strive to be responsible stewards of resources committed to our care. Our vocations are much more apt to be a delight when our priorities are right, with proper place given to our relationship with God and with our families. We will find that we can have peace in the most incredibly difficult work situations when we commit our ways to the Lord and give time to prayer. And, perhaps most of all, we can be energized by a bold and lively vision for what we're doing—a vision that provides direction and draws us up into that which is noble and worthy.
And yet there is a dimension that goes beyond the most carefully crafted guidelines to business success. It is to this dimension that we now turn.