Sunday Morning Greek Blog

May 14, 2012

“Other Duties as Assigned” (Luke 17:7–10)

Filed under: Biblical Studies,Luke Gospel of,Work — Scott Stocking @ 6:14 am

Last month, I blogged briefly on what the Scriptures say about work. So I’ve been a little sensitive to that topic when it comes up in my daily reading. I was struck recently by Luke 17:7–10, where Jesus says, in so many words, “Don’t expect a huge fanfare of appreciation when all you’ve done is what is normally expected of you.” It didn’t take me too long to jump from that to my own job description as an Education and Curriculum Writer for my company. My main job is to take materials prepared by subject matter experts (SMEs) and develop Web-based training and other materials for our eventual approval as an organization that can offer continuing education credits. I have some advanced training in adult educational theory, so I’d like to think I’m ideally suited to the task.

Having spent several years working from home or working more-or-less independently as an adjunct professor, no one really had a claim on the rest of my time other than family. I was given a job to do, and I did it to the best of my ability. But now, after having been working for a company for the past 16 months, I think I have finally gotten adjusted to having a boss and understanding how I fit into the whole scheme of things as an employee. Lately, because we lost our data analyst at Christmas time and because I have a pretty strong math and Excel background, I got handed the task dealing with the data and putting it into the necessary templates in Word for our purposes. I was able to develop a couple VBA macros for Word and Excel that made the task almost embarrassingly easy, creating, on average, twenty-five six-page, personalized documents from the data in about ten minutes. And if something needed to be tweaked in all documents after they were created? Forget about it! I had learned how to do macros for that as well.

Now there’s a part of me that thinks I deserve a little extra commendation (read “pay raise”) for taking on this task that really was not in my field of expertise. But I was reminded of that humbling little phrase in my job description (and my coworkers’ job description and most likely your job description): “Other duties as assigned.” I had not written much of any computer code since my college days 30 years ago, long before Bill Gates became a household name. I had toyed with macros in some of my editing work, but not nearly to the extent that I have achieved in the past year. One of my coworkers loaned me her book on VBA for Microsoft applications, and that has been a life saver many times. But more than once, when I attempted to execute some piece of code, it just wouldn’t work like I thought it should. I think through this experience, more than any other, I have really come to appreciate the power of prayer.

Whenever I would get stuck on trying to get a piece of code to work, I would always lift it up to God. I would pray for understanding or to find the answer online or in the VBA reference book. Without fail, within an hour of reaching out to God for help, he directed me to answer or revealed to me the nature of the problem. Code is nothing but pure logic (in spite of the occasional Schroedinbugs), so to whom could I turn when I got stuck but the creator of logic himself?

This experience is just another in a long string of divine confirmations that God has me where he wants me. I just have to keep telling myself that that is a far greater benefit or reward than the praise of my bosses or coworkers or any pay raises or bonuses (I won’t turn any of that down, though!). Becoming the go-to guy for the data was nothing more than “other duties as assigned,” so “I am an unworthy servant; I have done what I ought to do.”


Scott Stocking


  1. Good man, Scott Stocking. I’m envious of your computer skills.

    Comment by Kristine Christlieb — May 14, 2012 @ 6:33 am | Reply

    • I hope the spiritual lesson herein is caught by the readers. God may ask you to do something you don’t think you’re capable of, but he won’t ask you to do something unless he’s prepared to equip you or reveal to you the skills you didn’t know you had.

      Comment by Scott Stocking — May 14, 2012 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

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