Are you bored with your lot in life? Do you feel stuck or non-essential? Does the thought of filing another piece of paper make you want to bang your head against something solid for an extended period of time? Well, look no further, because this post is for you. Actually, this post is for you if you work in any sort of job where you feel like just another meaningless cog in the machine. This post is also for you if you don’t work at all – maybe you go to school full time or maybe you’re in transition and simply don’t have a strong sense of direction right now.
I recently attended a young professionals class where they were studying a series called “Hating in the Waiting.” The series is based on the fact that many of us show up to work/school/events where we feel less than important, perform mediocre work, and go home, operating under the misunderstanding that our important work, our “Kingdom work,” happens after hours. I’ve been especially guilty of this. I work at an insurance agency, and I’m good at my job, and I work hard, however I don’t find a lot of purpose or meaning in any of it. I’ve never thought to myself, “I can’t wait to go to work and carry out God’s will today.” And that is a mistake I feel many of us are making – unintentionally, of course.
Many of us often talk in the Christian realm of having a calling to the ministry. Generally when we say this it means we feel led to work in the church or a mission field. Realistically, though, we can’t feasibly ALL be called to live out this kind of ministry. I propose the idea that we each have an equally vital mission on this earth, from the janitors to the CEO’s to the mailmen to the baristas. If the church was the only vessel we had to carry the gospel, we would fall woefully short. We would never reach the amount of hurting people that Jesus intended us to.
The kingdom of heaven is here, and it is now, and we are all equally crucial in the building of it. What we need to ask ourselves is “how does my work resemble it?” When you go to your place of work, how can you exude kindness and love? When you carry out the tasks you consider menial, how can you excel to please God? With your coworkers, how can you emulate Jesus? What’s stopping you from throwing yourself whole-heartedly into your work the way you do when you’re volunteering at church? What opportunities are you missing because you consider your day job to be trivial?
Perhaps you won’t always be a lawyer, or a pilot, or a maid. Maybe you’ll have several jobs. It’s possible you WILL be called to a foreign country to teach English to children or baptize people who have never had the name of Jesus touch their lips. Those are most certainly noble pursuits. And so is being a lawyer, a pilot, or a maid. So is being a student. So is being a stay at home mom. The Bible tells us to work at whatever we do with our whole hearts because that is absolutely what is pleasing to God.
I want to attack this idea that our day-in, day-out work is anything less than essential, and I want to do it with scripture.
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to WORK for his good pleasure,” – Philippians 2:13
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters,” – Colossians 3:23
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands,” – Psalm 90:17
We are in charge of preparing this earth for the second coming of the one who created us. We are in charge of loving people like it is our real job; it IS our real job. The world needs accountants and it needs Uber drivers as much as it needs pastors and missionaries. It needs YOU. So I pray that you go back to your day job tomorrow full of purpose and energy and encouragement. Take heart: you ARE the kingdom of heaven, and you are someone’s best hope of seeing Jesus today.