“90% of adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.”
Why We Work, September 2015 (Simon & Schuster/TED)
I ran across this article about the reasons why we work, and overall, the statistics are daunting. Many people aren’t spending most of their time on earth doing things that they find meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging. However, the reality of the situation is that if we don’t work, we don’t eat, right? (2 Thessalonians 3:10) While a small percentage of us have jobs that we find meaningful, most don’t. How can we navigate through life when, out of necessity, we have to do things that we don’t want or like to do? How can we push through everyday tasks when we don’t feel like they’re part of our purpose?
When I was young, I remember my father having us help him to take large stones from one side of our pond to the other. We carried heavy stones, loaded them into a row boat, and unloaded them, only to carry them up a hill to their final destination. I had no idea what my father intended, but when the task was over, the landscaping looked beautiful. We all felt like the effort had been worth it, but we didn’t have the vision or insight to see what our father saw. I’m convinced that sometimes life can be like this very simple illustration.
We have to trust that God knows our desire to please Him and to fulfill His purpose in us. When we have a heart for Him, regardless of what our immediate placement is, He can use us and fulfill His purpose in us. It’s always toughest when we can’t see what’s up the road and we don’t understand the whys. I know that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and push the panic button more than a time or two when things just didn’t make sense. However, we can’t cave in to what we see. When we do this, we have the inclination to sin. We want relief so we gravitate towards what we think is gratifying. For example, gossiping, sexual sin, alcohol or drug abuse, negative attitudes, bitterness, resentment, etc. can be a result of us caving to our feelings and not clinging to His Word.
One verse that I live my life by is found in John 15:2. Jesus says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” Many times we might think about bearing fruit by simply imagining all that we can and will do for others, but I think it’s more. We have to mediate and reflect about ourselves first. I’ve had to ask myself, what is your relationship with Christ bearing in you? We must ask ourselves daily if we are being obedient to His Word. Are we loving another? Do we have peace and joy? Are we patient, forgiving, kind, gentle, good? Do we have self-control? And, if we don’t have love, how can we have any of the other fruit?
Fulfilling our purpose doesn’t always mean leaving our jobs to do something else. Sometimes we have to stay right where we are, and it can feel wrong but be right in the Lord’s plan for our lives. Part of our pruning process may involve doing things that we don’t understand, but if we always keep our hearts and minds in sync with God’s plan, we will have peace and find purpose in any place in our lives.
Our fulfillment and joy has to be found in relationship with the Lord first. Period. Any other order is out of order. We don’t do God a favor when we go to church, read our Bibles, or give service to others. We do these things out of our love for him and our desire to please Him, but God is pleased when we trust Him and obey His Word. This seems simple but can be very challenging. There is always the temptation to put other things before Him, but worship has be a lifestyle. We have to lift Him up and seek to please Him. When we commune with Him, the evidence of what’s within us will flow outward to others.
People can feel the authenticity of those who are in fellowship with Christ. They light up their jobs. They brighten gloomy situations. They are positive but real. They are quick to listen and slow to speak. They are compassion, but stand for injustice and avoid cliques. They don’t brag about the good they do, but they do good. When we have a heart for Christ and a Christ-like attitude, we are working with purpose and on the mission that God has given us, regardless of our station in life.
I pray that today God will supernaturally reveal His purpose in where He has you right now. Psalm 119:105 lets us know that His Word is light to our path and a lamp to our feet. In the dark places, He will show us how to proceed and help us to work toward our divine calling.
Praying with you now and always,