Custodial shift supervisor Aaron Bell views job as act of love
Times have changed, but the vision of Liberty University has remained the same since 1971: to cultivate characteristics in students’ lives that reflect what it means to be a spiritual champion. But what does that look like today?
Introduced last fall with the We the Champions project, the Liberty Champion Award is a monthly recognition of individuals within the Liberty community who consistently display the traits of gratitude, humility, integrity, joy, love, service and unity.
January’s Champion Award was given to Liberty University Custodial Facilities shift supervisor Aaron Berlin.
You might notice Berlin and his second shift team as you depart from your last class of the day or as you nestle in for a late-night study session in the Montview Student Union. His team may not whistle while they work, but there is something that testifies to their sense of underlying joy and purpose in mopping floors and gathering trash.
According to Berlin, he simply rises to the daily occasion to do his best.
“The small amount of authority I’m given within my job should reflect the character of God,” Berlin said. “I’ll have to give an account for how I steward my job as well as my relationships within it, so there’s a gravity and importance added to everything that I do. If I don’t handle my authority well, it’s burdensome to those beneath me.”
For Berlin, cleaning floors and other custodial duties constitutes more than just a job; these seemingly mundane tasks are an act of worship.
“All things are to be done out of love,” Berlin said. “And that’s not a fluffy sort of love, but rather a reflection that Christ has saved me from total pointlessness. Without him, doing this job well would be meaningless, and I’d have nothing to show for it.”
Berlin describes it as a rubber-meets-road experience, challenging him to put his intention where his faith is every minute he is on the clock.
“Individuals will only rise to the level of enthusiasm and work ethic their leader brings,” Berlin said. “There are a lot of strong claims in scripture that talk about having joy, rejoicing in the Lord always — those are imperative, not just suggestions.”
Getting to interact with his coworkers, sharing in their personal joys and helping bear the weight of their burdens are some of the most rewarding aspects of Berlin’s job.
Having studied psychology at Liberty, Berlin has a honed appreciation for the personality traits and characteristics that make each person unique.
“I know very much how I think and perceive the world, and getting to learn from others is really delightful,” Berlin said.
While it has taught him much about the lives and views of others, Berlin said his job has taught him invaluable lessons about himself as well.
He has learned the importance of humility and submission to authorities above himself, allowing the gracious and nurturing nature of God to be the inspiration behind his interactions at work.
“God is not an overbearing leader,” Berlin said. “In fact, we thrive under his leadership, because his grace and patience eliminate fear. I’ve also learned that contentment combats the mundanity of work.”
In his humility, Berlin said he does not take credit for winning the award by his own merit.
“Every good thing that has come out of me is the work of Christ,” Berlin said.
Anyone can nominate a Liberty student, staff or faculty member for a Champion Award by emailing their name and story to WeTheChampions@liberty.edu, or go to liberty.edu/champions and click on “Nominate a Champion.”