This week a friend approached me with a question, “Why does work suck?”
I think it has to do with the fact that we were initially created to sit around naked in a garden rather than indoors at desks under fluorescent lights. And as a result of sin, “the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.” (Genesis 3)
Thankfully God gave each of us skills and abilities such that hopefully we are doing something we are good at and thus enjoy.
And then I started thinking about some of the things I am good at, or the things that I was known in high school and elementary school for being good at. Science, art, math, notsomuch English… When I went to college, studying architecture seemed like a great way to pull all of these together under one umbrella.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted to be a secretary. A secretary? Really? You sometimes don’t even need a college degree for that, and I graduated with top grades. I can remember being told in high school that I had been given these abilities for a reason and I’d better not waste them. Instead I have found that I have abilities in customer service, logistics, and detail projects – which are different than skills in science and drawing but still important to make the world function.
Back to that work-sucking discussion, I said to my friend that I think we aren’t supposed to get great fulfillment out of work. If we do, that’s an awesome bonus. But I believe the main reason we’re still on this planet after accepting Christ instead of whoosh! up to heaven is because of the other people that are still here that still need to know God loves them.
If that’s the case, should THAT be the focus of our jobs – the people we encounter and the natural relationships that occur – rather than creating an end product?
Combine that with the skills and abilities and talents and blessings that God has given us and it made me wonder if sometimes He gives those to us not to drive us into a certain vocation but into a certain workplace with certain people.
I enjoy my job (most days) but definitely don’t get fulfillment from it. Eh, it’s just scheduling another meeting, completing another requisition, balancing another spreadsheet. But I have no doubt in my mind that God wants me at this job right now because of the PEOPLE I encounter.
One of those is my boss. My heart breaks for him. He loves to tell corny jokes and his laugh can carry all the way down the hall, but he is so stressed, and gets depressed, and is angry sometimes. I see pain in his eyes and his life, and as cheesy as this sounds I just want him to know Jesus. I know that Jesus never says following him makes things better – in fact he says that it’ll be really hard – but the peace and joy that I have from Jesus outweigh all of the other things in my life (most days; I’d be lying if I said I never got mad at God).
I absolutely believe that God gave some people certain abilities in order for them to do things like cure diseases and invent new sanitation methods – which are the types of things that our culture would use to point to people and call them “successful” and are quite important. But maybe many of us have been blessed in order to direct us to a particular workplace or environment or hobby or community or yoga class or something where God can use us to share his love.
My friend didn’t like this theory of mine. He said it was too much like God micromanaging. For me, still pondering. 🙂