Sometimes we are not sure that our work, as legitimate and as spiritual as it may be, matters. We question the worth of our work, the significance of our job. For many of us we don’t pause long enough to consider some challenging questions about our work.
Why do I work?
Some people work for money. Others work for opportunity. Respect is another reason people work. But what happens when the money dries up? What happens when the opportunities halt? What if people don’t like you? What if there is a downturn or downsizing? What then?
The key to finding purpose and meaning in your job is connecting what you do all day with what you think God wants you doing. In fact, you will never find ultimate meaning in your work—or in your relationship with God until you do. Are you in the place where God wants you to be?
For whom am I working?
Are you working for a boss, your spouse, your family, or yourself? Or, are you working for God? If God is a worker and he calls us to be coworkers with him, then our work must be for him. All our work should be done for God. If not, we are wasting our lives. When we know that we are working for God, that our efforts bring us pleasure and honor God, then we are fruitful and fulfilled. We are performing the right job.
Can you give all of your heart to your work?
Colin Powell learned a valuable lesson about work early in his life. While working at the Teamsters Hall on soft drink delivery trucks, Powell accepted a job as a porter at a Pepsi bottling plant, not knowing what a porter actually did. The first day on this new job, the future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State was given a mop. He was determined to be the best mopper at the plant. At the end of the summer, the foreman who had watched Powell work during the summer complimented him on his hard work. The foreman offered him a better job for the next summer. Powell could have had a different attitude toward his menial job as a porter, but he was determined to do the best job even if he was not working at the best job. The lesson he learned was this: “All work is honorable. Always do your best, because someone is watching.”
We may not have the most glamorous or the best paying job in the world, but we can still give that job the best we have to offer. If we are coworkers with God, and God does his best, then we too must do our best.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
Is it worth it?
As a Christian who works I receive not only a paycheck but also the promise of a heavenly reward far greater than any salary. Often, I hear from people who complain about their poor salaries and benefits. They often seek another job. It often hits me when talking to such people that no matter how little or how much I was paid today, it was nothing compared with the coming reward from God.
When we work for ourselves or for others, we have nothing beyond a paycheck and the material goods it can buy. These cannot ultimately satisfy. But for believers the thoughts of standing one day before Jesus and hearing him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Mat. 25:23 NIV) drives us on. That will be far greater than any Oscar, Pulitzer, Nobel, or Grammy prize that the world could offer.
Your LIFE’s Work: Finding Significance in Your Job is a free eBook that provides greater clarity and inspiration for why we should work and how we can glorify God through our work. You can claim you copy by clicking here and signing up for my weekly One Minute Uplifts.