This past week I began reading a book entitled “Turning Adversity Into Success” by Mark Malmin. While this book was not written be a member of the Lord’s church (or at least nothing I have read thus far gives me the impression that he is). But, he is a man who understands service better than most. In the 70s he served in the army. After “retiring” from the military life he word as a Police Officer in the San Francisco-San Jose great bay area for 28 years. While the book clearly has spiritual overtones, there was something that caught my eye in the opening chapter as he discussed who he was.
Mr. Malmin absolutely loved his job. He loved getting up in the morning going out onto the streets, serving and protecting as he vowed to do when he first put on the badge. You couldn’t help but to see his passion bleeding through the text as he talked about being a crime fighter. He talked of how Hollywood movies only provided a taste of what he got to do every morning. He lived for that kind of excitement. And this got me thinking, how many of us really love our jobs that much?
According to statistics and poll takers most American are not happy with their jobs. Even before the recent economic downturn (or Great Recession) Americans don’t love their jobs. The average America not only changed jobs, but changed professions every 7 years. While I understand this constant flex on some level (I have been preaching for 11.5 years and have preached for 4 different congregations) I cannot fully understand the need to change professions so regularly. The days were a person stayed with a single company for 20+ years have come and gone. If people are indeed changing so frequently the answer to the question proposed is no. No, the average American is not happy with his job.
We as Christians cannot be the average American. Much in the scriptures teaches us that we ought to be happy with our jobs. Let us look at the following passages.
I Cor. 10:10 “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” Murmuring is condemned. And thus that murmur are condemned. Thayer’s says that to murmur is to “say anything against in a low tone.” In other words it is the complaining we do when our boss is not around. I am not saying that every job is the best job in the world. I am not saying that every boss is the best boss in the world. What I am saying is that even if you have the worst job or the worst boss imaginable, we should not be murmuring about it.
Phil. 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” This is not to say that one is wrong to find other employment. I realize that sometimes a job may make you compromise your faith. And I realize that sometimes a job does not enable you to support your family. For these reasons I would understand the need to move on. However, to move on because you feel that this work is beneath you is a whole other issue. The attitude we take to work should not be I am better than this, or this is beneath me, but rather contentment. Or better yet, to be thankful that you even have a job. There are many in this country who are not employed and would be happy to have the job that you are murmuring about.
I Cor. 7:20-21 “ Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.” Paul is saying again to be content with the position that you are in. If you are slave don’t seek for freedom. If he is telling slaves to be content being slaves how can we argue that our life’s ambition is to climb the ladder of corporate success? Yes, Paul does say that if the opportunity arises to become free that it was okay to become free to use that occasion. But as he would write in another passage, “only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh (Gal. 5:13).” The right to be free was not meant to be given to do whatever we want, but whatever God wanted. Likewise, I believe that if the opportunity presents itself for a better job we are not wrong to take it. BUT, do not use this freedom as an excuse to find the next “big payday.”
Eph. 6:5-7 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” While Paul isn’t saying that we need to be like the 7 dwarves (that is we need to whistle while we work). He does remind us who it is we are actually working for. It is not just an earthly employer. As a Christian, when we go to work, we are God’s ambassador. How we work is not just a reflection upon you, but upon your faith, the local church, and your God. We should therefore be working for our earthlier employers as if God himself was standing there watching every move (because after all he is). Don’t just look like you are enjoying your job while the boss is around. Look like a hard worker who is thankful to be employed at all time.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Do You Love Your Job
Volume 5 Issue 6