The Lunchtime Take-Out: Better Start From The Start

If I had a nickel from every time in my life I heard Loverboy’s “Working For The Weekend” between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., I could probably wipe out the national debt single-handedly. In fact, I might even have some money left over to help fish Greece out of the trouble it’s in, too. I would also want to set aside a little bit so I could keep Nicolas Cage from having to take roles requiring him to do this.

“Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend!” Yeah! “Everybody needs a second chance!” Right on! Just thinking about the song makes me want to whip out my red bandanna and reach for my cowbell (Well, I don’t actually own a cowbell, but if I did…). Mike RenoIt’s what all us Monday-Friday wage-earners are thinking from the moment the alarm clock goes off on the first day of the work week: “Gotta make it to the weekend. If I can just make it to the weekend…”

Yes, the weekend is our refuge, when we don’t have to worry about the alarm clock, the boss, the fellow employees, the deadlines, the stress, the frustration. We can break free from our chains, do the things we really would rather be doing the rest of the week anyway, and reclaim our souls from the quagmire of the working world we have to wallow in for the past five days. “Everyone’s waiting, they’re holding out…”

It seems like the perfect setup on the surface: Pay your dues for a few days, endure until you can get free, and then go do whatever you want for a while. The only problem with the equation is that the parts don’t add up to the whole. No amount of “free time” can make up for an existence of drudgery and repetition. Simply striving to survive until 5 o’clock Friday afternoon quickly loses its appeal when you realize in a little over 48 hours you have to start the cycle all over again. There must be something in the work itself that makes it worthwhile, and that is what I believe everyone struggles with from time to time.

Why am I even here?

“What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” The writer of Ecclesiastes realized all those years ago how empty the ritual of work can become. I’ll admit that, recently, I’ve asked myself the same question. I’ve merely been surviving, wandering aimlessly from one task to another until I can leave it all behind me for a couple of days. I’ve been staying up too late at night, getting up later in the morning, not praying or reading the Bible like I should, and I can trace most of that back to my struggles with my job. To aim my direction totally towards the weekend does not provide me with any direction at all for the rest of the days of the week, and I can feel it with every step.

So what to do? For me, the first step is to follow the words of the apostle Paul in Colossians, where he said, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” Men will frustrate endlessly; God will not. From there, the picture gets murkier, but I believe it has something to do with finding the significance of each act during the day and milking it for everything it’s worth. The weekend actually has a tendency to bring out the worst traits in me – laziness, unfruitful pursuits, lackadaisical habits. Is that what I should be working toward?

Of course, it is easier to type this because it is, indeed, Friday right now. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee I’ll feel this way come Monday morning. As Loverboy sang all those years ago, though, “You gotta start from the start.”

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