Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
It’s a fact of life that most people have to work for a living. We leave school, maybe go to university or some other institution and then we find employment. We spend many hours at our work whatever it is, and sometimes we don’t find it smooth sailing.
Think of how many hours we are at work, at least until we retire, and it adds up to a lot, doesn’t it? So, it’s important to ask the question: Are you happy at work? Do you find fulfilment in your job, or do you just put up with it because it puts money in your bank account each fortnight?
If you have employment that you enjoy, you are most fortunate. I have a feeling there are lots of people who are not satisfied and would like to change jobs if they could. I do know others who do find joy and meaning in their work. They take God with them and ask him to bless their daily work. And I think if we take the Bible seriously we can find work is not something to be endured.
God is everywhere—not just in church
The psalmist in Psalm 16: 8-9 said, “I am always thinking of the Lord; and because He is so near, I never need to stumble or fall. Heart, body and soul are filled with joy.” I think that is an inspiring verse. Each week day before you go to work, take time to pray about your job. It doesn’t matter what the job is, but take a few minutes telling the Lord about your workplace and the people with whom you work. Remember God is the unseen Partner in all of life and he goes with you each day.
You may need to remind yourself that God is present in the office, factory, supermarket and shops and on the bus or train, just as much as he is in churches on Sunday. We seem to think of meeting God at church, but he is with us every second. There was a 13th-century writer and mystic named Meister Eckhart who once said: “The kind of work we do does not make us holy but we may make it holy. As we have the divine being within, we bless each task we do, be it eating or sleeping or watching, or any other.”
Work provides many opportunities to learn about life, too. People who enjoy their work and become successful seem to understand that their work provides them with unique opportunities to learn new skills. Any job we do has the potential to increase our learning and understanding if we think about it hard enough and stop complaining. The Apostle Paul said, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). A thankful heart brightens the most boring of tasks and sometimes we should stop complaining and be grateful for the job we have, which brings us income and other benefits.
Using our job to bless others
Be aware of ways that your job blesses other people. I read about a real-estate agent who not only sells houses, but brings a new dimension of helping others. She said: “Because I have identified value to others in my work, I now see more than a sale and commission in what I do. I see myself as helping a family find the house they can live in and transform it into a home.” No wonder then, that this lady became the top-selling real-estate agent in her firm.
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Sometimes we can feel enriched by becoming a volunteer in our spare time or become more involved in our church. I can think of many busy people who are out at night and on the weekends for their church, serving others and giving their talents for God’s work. In doing so, their work becomes more enjoyable and fulfilling. They look for more opportunities to serve others outside their day-to-day work.
Unhappiness at work can stem from wanting to be perfect in everything you do. If you want to be perfect, there is no doubt you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure. No-one is perfect and we fail every day. Illogical self-expectations can ruin your job and your life, if you are not careful, because no-one is perfect. No-one has to be perfect to do a good day’s work. Accept your limitations and do your best to be a good employee, as you seek God’s blessing each day.
Are there other ways you can think of that can turn a job of drudgery into a blessing? Take each day as a gift from God and give it over to him. He wants to work through you and bring blessing to others by the way you live and work.