Have you ever done work, on a sustained basis, that you didn’t like or perhaps at which you weren’t that skilled? Or maybe even you didn’t mind it, but you knew it wasn’t what you were built to do?
Perhaps you had to do the work to provide for your family? Or you had to do it as the job was a necessary step in your career progression? Maybe you chose to do it because you earnestly thought the work might be a good option for you? Or, perish the thought, perhaps you did it because you just stumbled into it and didn’t know any better? 🙂
Yep, today I’d like to address the reality many people face of doing work they just don’t like to do!
What God Says About Work
At Crossroads Career, we’re here to serve the unemployed and unfulfilled. Being unemployed is usually pretty clear, while being unfulfilled can take on many forms. In fact, Scripture tells us work will be difficult. Genesis 17b – 19a tells us, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread….” I’m betting when Adam heard that, he wasn’t too thrilled – – toil, thorns, thistles, sweat, those don’t conjure up a pleasant experience.
Yet on the other hand, we were created to glorify God through our work. Earlier in Genesis, before sin entered the world, when God created man, we’re told, “God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it….” (Gen.1:28a). In the New Testament, Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
So, from the many Scriptures we have about work, we can know that work may be difficult, and yet we are to work at it “as working for the Lord.”
Last Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to briefly experience doing work that I don’t believe I’m built to do, feel called to do, am skilled to do, or would enjoy in the long term. I found the work to be interesting for the short term, and I think it is something that I could actually do. However, for people who know me, the idea of me being a construction kind of guy would cause them to run to warn potential customers not to hire me. 🙂
Over the 40 years I’ve been in the workforce, I’ve done a number of jobs like that, but I learned very quickly that my skills, abilities, strengths, and passions were better matched with people administration rather than physical work. For me to be full & filled, the way God created me had me pursuing office jobs rather than physically working with my hands. Thankfully, God’s provision for my family and I allowed me to vocationally enjoy my work most of my career.
When the Work You’re Doing Isn’t Ideal
However, you may be facing different scenarios. Perhaps demand for the job for which you think you’re best suited has shifted and isn’t there anymore. It may be that you’re in a job now where you’re unfulfilled, and you aren’t sure what the best role is for you. Maybe you need to explore some different routes to see what might be a better fit? Perhaps you’re not finding a job that can pay to support your current lifestyle, and you’re looking to take on a second job or do gigs to fill in the gaps?
Whatever situation you’re facing, you may have to do some work that isn’t what you’d ideally like to choose.
And that’s ok.
That’s simply part of the journey, and your quest to find the work that fulfills you doesn’t need to stop just because you may need to do some work to pay the bills.
I’d encourage you to keep the faith and receive what God has for you. “Thy will be done” is a famous phrase from The Lord’s Prayer, yet often times I think I know His will pretty clearly before He shows me pretty clearly that I didn’t! 🙂
Per last week’s blog, keep focused on the fundamentals for your search, and no matter what work He provides for you to do, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Blessings!
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.