The Most Useless Activity (click to comment)


When I was barely wet behind the ears, I worked one summer for a construction company. Now, if you’ve ever been the new guy or gal on the worksite, you tend to get stuck doing jobs no one else wants to do. The real challenge comes when you finish all of these jobs, and your boss catches you doing nothing. “What are you doing?” he asks. “Well um, ya see, I, uh, just scratchin’ my nose,” you stammer. Then he squints at you like you’re two years old. “I ain’t payin’ you three bucks an hour to scratch your nose. Get to work.” “But I finished all the work,” you say, thinking you probably shouldn’t have said that. “Then make work,” he growls and stomps off to do something important.

So I’d walk around with a dazed expression, picking up nails and putting them back down, then I’d squint at stuff like I was examining it with a purpose in mind, then pick up a cloth and busily start wiping down clean surfaces. I became talented at making work for myself. A good pile of lumber could keep me occupied for hours. I’d pick up several boards and carry them about 20 feet and place them on the ground. Then I’d go back for a few more until I had relocated the entire pile. After sweeping a clean floor, I’d return the pile to its original location. Then wipe down a clean surface, and move the pile of boards to a new spot. I could keep myself busy like this all afternoon. It was the longest summer of my life.

But the truth is, there’s an activity that’s even more pointless then a make- work project. It’s the most useless activity in the universe. It wastes time, sucks life out of our years, and has never done a single person one ounce of good. I’m talking about worry.

Worry doesn’t take you anywhere. It robs us of peace and sleep and laughter, and it doesn’t make that thing you’re worrying about less likely to happen. Jesus wasn’t a big fan of worry either. In Matthew 12:25, He said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” It ain’t gonna happen. But there is good news. Jesus has promised to be with us through all of life’s trials, and fill us with joy as we choose to release our worries and trust Him instead. So I hope that you are looking at Him, not at your troubles today. Even if your boss has you moving piles of wood and polishing clean surfaces.

And let us know if there are any strange jobs that you have had to perform at work. Leave your stories in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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