Drill Sergeant PG, as usual, came out early to wake the squad of young penguin recruits in the boot camp. In less than five minutes, they were all good to go for the cold morning run, swim and catch exercises that would take nearly a day. They were told that the trainings these days were more grueling than in the past, as the ocean was more polluted and the fishes fewer.
Except for Private Tiny, the rest of the squad had the build and stamina to cope up with the standards of Drill Sergeant. Private Tiny always came out last in the every aspect of the exercises. Even how much the Drill Sergeant pushed him, still the little penguin just couldn’t cope up.
When graduation time came, each of the cadets was given their assignment. All except Private Tiny took the heroic task of hunting for food in the farther parts of the ocean. He was given the post of lookout, to march to and fro daily at one of the higher elevations near the colony. It was a thankless job, without much challenge. But Private Tiny attended to his job enthusiastically and diligently. Tasked to make a daily account of what he observed, Private Tiny made detailed reports to the Chief Scribe.
One day, Private Tiny noticed an unusual movement in the glacier overlooking the colony. At first, there were snowflakes as the wind became stronger than usual. This was a snow storm! He immediately ran towards the warning horn and sounded this with all his might. The sound stunned all the penguins, as they moved in fast cadence to a safe area. And then suddenly, an avalanche of snow totally wiped out the penguin colony. Not one penguin died, except that Private Tiny was missing.
The penguin community including Drill Sergeant PG and the squad searched for Private Tiny. They found him buried under the snow, just a few meters from the warning horn. And he was breathing! They carried him to the where everyone had settled and as he regained consciousness he could hear them shout, “Tiny, our hero!”
Saint Benedict the Black was a slave who became a solitary. Though he did not know how to read and write, he became the superior in the hermit community which was disbanded by Pope Pius IV. He persisted in serving the Church, settling as a Franciscan lay brother and cook of St Mary’s convent near Palermo. He rose through the ranks becoming the superior of the convent, only to be relieved and returned to being the cook. He attended to his assigned task with fervor and love, while at the same time performed miracles, and was sought as a confessor that brought many to the faith. Though humble was his work as a cook, he became God’s instrument to be believers and unbelievers.
There is no thankless job. Everyone has an assigned role in the world, and we are meant to do our job well out of love. How therefore should you approach your job? “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people…The Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward.” (Colossians 3:23-24)