Calling vs. Kingdom in Finding Meaning in Work

Not every one gets to do the job they feel they are ultimately called to do. 

Even those who do, do not always do so all the time. This is one of the shortcomings of looking solely to one’s calling to find meaning in one’s work. 

Moses was a shepherd before he was a deliverer, Joseph a prison trustee before he was a ruler, and Nehemiah a cupbearer before he was a contractor. Yet no one would argue Moses was ultimately called to be a shepherd, nor Joseph a jailer, nor Nehemiah a cupbearer.

One of my summer jobs between my first and second year of law school was working for a telemarketing firm selling the New York Times. There was no uncertainty in my mind; I was not called to ultimately be a telemarketer. I wanted to be a lawyer. 

Continue reading “Calling vs. Kingdom in Finding Meaning in Work”

Glorifying God in your Work

Growing up in a religious culture can cause us to become inoculated to the meaning of certain religious words, especially if the words are used more in a religious context than in non-religious ones. “Glorify” is one of those words. It’s easy to gloss over the word and miss the full significance of the word.

Dictionary.com defines “glorify” as:

  1. to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered.
  2. to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol.
  3. to make glorious; invest with glory.
  4. to praise the glory of (God), especially as an act of worship.
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Jesus’ Work-Related Excellence

In John 8, the scribes and Pharisees bring Jesus a woman caught in adultery.

The scribes and pharisees did this to attempt to trap Jesus. (v. 6)

It’s a trap because the penalty for adultery under the Old Testament law was death, but if Jesus agreed to impose the death penalty, He would get crossways with the Romans, who alone reserved the right to impose the death penalty.

If Jesus showed mercy and didn’t apply the Old Testament law, then the scribes and Pharisees would have grounds for accusing Jesus before the Jews of not following Old Testament law.

Jesus’s response to this conundrum demonstrates He knew the law much better than those who attempted to trap Him: ““He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v. 7). It is easy to read this too quickly as Jesus abrogating or superseding the law with mercy, but I do not believe that is what is happening here. Continue reading “Jesus’ Work-Related Excellence”

On Work-Related Stress

If you ever think your job is too stressful, John 7 is as a good chapter to read:

1After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.2Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4“For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

Here, Jesus is doing the job he was sent to do, teaching people, healing them, and revealing to them who He was. No easy task. But add to all that that He was doing all these things while there was a group of people trying to kill Him.  Continue reading “On Work-Related Stress”

On Being Anchored Not Balanced

I’ve written at length on the subject of work in this blog.

I’ve written on work because work is integral to the expansion of the kingdom of God on earth.

In lauding the importance of work in the kingdom and arguing that there is no secular or sacred work, just legitimate and illegitimate work, I realized the question of work/life balance would arise.

So, I went to the Bible; specifically, I looked at Jesus’ life.

What I found surprised me. I found nothing that looked like a balanced lifestyle. Instead, I saw Jesus ministering all day and then praying all night.

I saw Jesus walking all day from one town to another and then instead of looking for a good hotel and place to eat raising a boy from the dead.

Balance, I suggested, is a myth, an unobtainable ideal unless comfort and peace, instead of the following Jesus, are one’s primary motivators. I still believe that. But if we are not to be balanced, as we follow Jesus, and life does not come at us in nice even, predictable waves, what are we to be? Continue reading “On Being Anchored Not Balanced”