The Plumber of Warsaw

Today at work, I paged myself over the intercom: “Would Phil Callaway please come to the office for a raise?” My coworkers had a much-needed laugh. Regardless of where we work, we can use our job to bring joy.

Social worker Irena Sendler took this to a whole new level.

A member of the Polish Underground during WWII, Irena received permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. But she had an ulterior motive. After leaving the ghetto each day, Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of her toolbox. Imagine. Larger children she hid in a burlap sack in the back of her truck.

Irena kept a dog back there as well, a dog trained to bark when Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the hound and the barking covered the noise of the children. But one day she was caught. Her bravery came at a horrible cost. The Nazis broke her arms and legs and beat her severely.

In her backyard, she had buried beneath a tree, a glass jar in which Irena kept a record of the names of each precious child she managed to save. There were nearly 2,500 in all.

After the war, she did all she could to reunite the families; the rest were adopted or placed in foster homes. Some are still alive today. For more on remarkable women, watch the movie “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.”

Chances are you and I won’t do anything noble at work today. Or will we? What if we put others ahead of ourselves? What if we worshiped through our work by inviting God into each aspect of it? If you’re a plumber, be an ordained plumber. Or carpenter, or homemaker, or school teacher. Ecclesiastes 2:24 says that we can do nothing better than to find satisfaction in our work.

Perhaps you say, “But no one appreciates what I do.” But what if you started to appreciate what they do. What if you encouraged them? They may have a heart attack, but things could change. You are where you are for a reason. So serve with excellence, pray for your coworkers, practice kindness, and don’t forget to bring joy to the workplace. A sense of humor ranks high on the list of desirable attributes in a worker. So why not hang mosquito netting around your cubicle just for fun? Or put decaf in the coffeemaker for three weeks, then switch to espresso? On second thought, maybe not.

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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