Thursday, February 01, 2007

"I Hate My Job!"

I hated working at Greyhound. In college, I would work for Greyhound during the Christmas season. They paid well enough, but I still hated my job and I was glad I was a temp.

My job was to load the luggage of the passengers onto the bus, as well as the packages being shipped. I had to work swing shift from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and that is also not my best time. My only joy in the day was Brenda bringing me dinner.

In addition to that, I had a supervisor named Ed that had it in for me. He was a preacher's kid who hated God and I was a ministry student, and every opportunity he got to stick it to me, he did. I hated that job.

One time I loaded the luggage incorrectly and when the bus pulled forward to load the passengers, it ran over a suitcase. That heavy bus crushed that bag and then I was really in trouble. I hated that job.

I had someone else recently say, "I hate my job" and I had to admit that I wouldn't want their job either. There are some jobs (we've all had them) that just don't work well for us, so we don't work well at them. Beyond simply hating our job, though, what is it that we are looking for from our jobs? It seems to me that sometimes we are looking for something from our jobs they will NEVER give us.

Your job will never provide the deep self esteem and approval that only God can give you. Only a heart connection with the Father will do that. Your job will never give you the consistent sense of satifaction you get from serving others. Only using your God-given gifts to advance Christ's kingdom will do that.

Besides the obvious reason for having a job, like money, I believe we are at our jobs for two reasons: 1) It is a primary place of ministry to others, and 2) it is the primary place where I grow spiritually.

God wants to grow us spiritually through our job. 40% of our lifetime will be spent at work. If we don't learn how to integrate work into our spiritual life, 40% of our life is spiritually wasted. God doesn't want that, for sure, so I believe He wants us to integrate our work and our spiritual life, so we learn to actually grow spiritually on the job.

I know God's goal in our life is to develop Christ's character in each of us, and I believe He wants to use our job to help accomplish this. I want to suggest three ways our jobs fit into God's plan.

First of all, God uses pressure at work to teach us responsibility.

"Live life, then with a due sense of responsibility, not as people who do
not know the meaning of life, but as those who do." Ephesians 5:15 (Ph)

Being a responsible person means doing just a few things right, and they are spiritual characteristics. For example, God want us to keeping our promises. At work someone depends upon you to keep your word, and that is a spiritual issue. It is an issue of responsibility and that is critically spiritual.

"God blesses the one... who always does what he promises, no matter how much it may cost." Psalms 15:4

Another practical and spiritual thing is simply meeting deadlines. It sounds simple, but it is incredibly important. Meeting a deadline for those you serve is meeting a deadline for Jesus. And how about be responsible enough to work without supervision. It is all about serving others as if you were serving Christ, because you are.

"Don't work hard only when your master is watching... work hard all the
time, as though working for Christ." Ephesians 6:6-7 (LB)

Secondly, God uses people at work to teach me about relationships.

Next to your family, your closest relationships are often at work. God uses work to teach us how to get along with people, resolve conflict, accept the challenge of being transparent and learning to trust people.

I like the way the Message read in Romans 12 16-18 says, "Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody.

Briefly put, we've got five relationship commands in this scripture that can be applied to our work relationships, and most of them have to do with our attitude towards other people.

Finally, God uses problems at work to teach me character.

"We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials for we know they
Are good for us - they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops
strength of character..." Romans 5:3-4 (LB)

Work is one of the places where we run into problems. Often these problems call for patience and endurance on our part. I know there are times when we need to change jobs, but most of the time we simply need to perservere through the tough time.

There is no shortcut to learning patience and endurance cannot be learned without pressure. As a follower of Christ, we have to believe that God has us at our jobs for a reason. Our jobs are an assignment from God and He will move us on when He needs us another place.

If you hate your job, or just don't like it, and are hoping to move on, take a few days and actually pray about it. Ask the Father if He has other plans for you, or if He is building something into your lfe. If you cut and run too soon, you will just set yourself up for the same lesson someplace else.