Admittedly, I envy most Professional Athletes, Musicians, Artists, and Janitors.
Janitors?? Yes, you have read that correctly – Janitors. Having worked over the years in various facets of Business, most currently in Sales & Marketing - I have come to envy, or shall I say appreciate a man’s ability to find joy in his occupation. Whether it is the NFL Safety anticipating the big hit on the Wide Receiver at the 40 yard line, or the Janitor that smiles at his reflection on the glass top of the CEO’s desk, job satisfaction in my eyes, is a prize second to none.
The ability to swing one’s legs over the side of the bed 5 days a week and WANT to do it, simply mystifies me. Is that an unreasonable thing to ask for - To enjoy what you do for a living and WANT to wake up on a daily basis and want to go to work? Of course it isn’t. What is unreasonable however is to lean upon that job solely to find a feeling of significance, peace, and happiness. Let’s face it. Most of us have to work to make a living. We need to show up, put in the time, hit our goals, and collect a paycheck to sustain our lifestyle- whatever it may be. The challenge for most men is that we tend to directly correlate our “significance” with what we do for a living. This often reveals itself when you meet someone for the first time. Usually the second or third question is something along the lines of “So, what do you do for a living?” Some of us can’t wait to answer it, and some of us pray that they don’t ask. And some of us want to run away as soon as they follow up the question with: “So, do you like it?”
It is because of this that I now see the truth in what Pascal says is the difference between the Reasonable and Unreasonable Man. In his book Penses, Pascal makes the following statement: “…let them recognize that there are two kinds of people one can call reasonable; those who serve God with all their heart because they know Him, and those who seek Him with all their heart because they do not know him.” Men, be reasonable! Your job does not define you, your character, or your worth. Your relationship with Christ in your job is much more important. If you are not serving God faithfully in your job, or seeking God with all of your heart in your job to draw closer to him and see where he desires you to be, than you are simply being Unreasonable!
In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord says: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.” (Jer 29:13) Not one-third, not three-quarters, but ALL of your heart! A pretty smart guy named Solomon tried to find significance in his job alone, and he too found that to be impossible! It is my belief, that job discontentment is truly a heart issue. It becomes a heart issue when you stay in a job, which you apparently “hate” and miserably go through the motions without praising or seeking God in the “day to day.” It is man placing work in between his relationship with Christ. The last thing the Lord wants is for you to be distant from him. The man that can seek God’s face in the midst of adversity (job discontentment), he is the one that truly wins! So realign your heart, course-correct your mind, and seek God first. Don't be surprised if job contentment soon follows....
This is a thought-provoking article. I had a job that I mostly loved. For 30 years, I was Executive Director of a large, but no too large, museum. The job was always challenging, and provided me with a great deal of freedom to explore a myriad of interests of mine: art, nature, astronomy, history and music. While I mostly enjoyed going to work (no one ever enjoys everything in a job,) I never confused what I did with who I was. I think that's the key. I enjoyed the maintenance crew and respected their work, just as I enjoyed and respected most of the Board members, who were partners in moving the museum forward.
When I first came to the museum, the Director at that time encouraged me to make the museum my life. That's advice that I never took. Not matter how much I enjoyed it, or whatever success and fulfillment the job provided, it was just a good job. I praised the Lord that he blessed me with a chance to use my gifts from him. There was always a bible on my desk, and it was my road map.
Unlike many men who are lost when they retire, retirement was an opportunity for me to give my self more fully to God, and to develop further the gifts he had blessed me with. I look back on my years of work with appreciation, but my focus is not backward, but forward.
I wrote a line in a song that
says it better:
"The good old days are still to come."
Never let a job define you. Define your job, and see Jesus in all that you do.