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Take This Job and Love It

God wants to give you a job you can love.

Recently I stopped at a red-light and noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It said,

I'm in no hurry, I'm on my way to work.

Have you ever felt that way? Surveys indicate that this is how most Americans feel about their job. Experts say that seven out of ten Americans are dissatisfied with their job and dread going to work. Someone once asked a man, "How long does it take you to get to work in the morning?" He said, "Usually I get to work about a half-hour after I clock in."

This attitude toward work is unfortunate since over the course of a lifetime most people spend about 40% of their time on the job. It seems crazy to invest so much of your life doing something you don't enjoy, but many people feel trapped in their job and don't see any way out.

We're in the third week of the series called "The Business of Life." Today we're going to look at what the Bible says about managing your career. Whether you love your job or hate it, the Bible has a great deal to say about how your attitude can improve your work life. Former Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry knew how to get the most of his players; he made this statement:

"When people aren't happy doing what they do, they don't do it as well as when they are happy."

Also, when you are excelling at work, it is easier to enjoy the other areas of your life. Have you ever been to a party, or family outing, or even a vacation that you were unable to enjoy because you couldn't leave behind the worries and stress of the office? It has happened to everyone at one time or another, and this will happen in any job. However, there are times when we need to assess where are we going in our career, and confirm that we are on the right track. Today, we're going to look at three questions you can ask yourself about your job. If you can answer yes to all three, then you are on the right track. If not, you may want to rethink some things about this extremely important area of your life.

Solomon said,I know there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.

Here are three questions you can ask yourself about your job:

1. Does this job provide enough to meet my needs?

As long as the answer to this question is yes, then salary should never be the primary factor in considering a job. Obviously, you have to earn enough to meet your obligations, support your family, put food on the table, a roof over your head, and so on. Beyond that, if you choose a career or a particular job based solely on the salary package, you are quite possibly setting yourself up for misery.

I speak from experience. Several years ago I was looking for a full-time position in youth ministry. I narrowed my search to two offers: one with an adequate salary, one with a salary that was, at that time, more money than I had ever earned before. The "adequate" church was, in many ways, ideal. It was an opportunity to work in a strong church with a dynamic youth program and a gifted pastor who was committed to growth. The other church was an opportunity to make a good salary and live in a big parsonage.

I prayed about my decision, but not nearly enough. I took the job with the best salary. After moving to the new church, I found out there was a reason why they offered such an attractive salary: no one could work in that environment. The leadership thrived on tension. In the previous ten years they had been through a series of Associate Pastors, Music Directors, and Youth Ministers; none had lasted more than a year. I was the third youth minister to be hired in less than 12 months! That should have been a red flag, but I was too distracted by financial considerations. As a result, my ministry suffered, my family suffered, and I suffered.

When it comes to finances, there is really only question that matters: does this job pay enough to enable me to meet my obligations? Solomon said that it is the gift of God if a person's work provides him or her with enough to eat and drink--i.e. to meet their physical needs. If it does, then it passes the test. The next two questions, however, are much more important. Secondly, you need to ask yourself

2. Does this job give me the opportunity to do good?

Solomon said...(v.12) I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.

Does your job make it possible for you to do good for others? If you're working a job that requires you to oppress people, to be dishonest, or to take advantage of others, then you need to change jobs--or change the way you do your job. Your job must provide a means for you to do good for others.

There are a number of ways this can happen. Some people have jobs that are service oriented--by doing their job they directly benefit others. Other people have jobs that are not necessarily service oriented, but the job makes it possible for them to give financially and participate in other ministries.

I have a friend named Wendy who had worked for years at a job she loved: she was a counselor at a school for disabled children. Her husband was transferred and the new job she found was working as a file clerk in for an accounting firm. Even though the hours and pay were better, she felt incredibly stifled--she felt like she wasn't accomplishing anything. So she did two things: She began a lunchtime Bible study at the office, and she began doing volunteer work for a suicide hotline on her day off. She looked for opportunities to do good and found them.

Maybe changing the world isn't built into your job description, but you can use that job to give you leverage to minister in other areas. A biblical example of this is the Apostle Paul. His calling was to be an apostle. Periodically, his vocation was to be a tentmaker--he made tents in order to help finance his ministry.

Attorney Ivy Scarborough does this, too. He loves practicing law, and he is quite good at it, but he sees his law practice as a means to support his ministry. Because of the income he derives from law, Ivy is able to take mission trips to Sudan, Afghanistan, and other war-torn countries.

Make sure that your job gives you the chance to do good. Even if your job seems to be mundane, you still have the opportunity to minister to those you work with--offering them encouragement and being an example of Christ.

Ask yourself: Does my job give me the opportunity to do good? How can I use it to help others? Does it mean I can give more to God's work? Does it give me more time to volunteer? Does it give me the chance to minister to the people I work with?

The third question is also important. It is…

3. Does this job give me a sense of fulfillment?

Solomon said,(v. 13) That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.

If you don't receive satisfaction from doing your job--a sense that you are fulfilling your life's purpose--then maybe the job you are doing now is not all that God has in mind for you to do with your life.

Of course every job has certain aspects to it that make it difficult. Part of your job may be tedious, or frustrating, or stressful, or demanding, or even boring--but the question is: overall, does this job give a sense that you are doing what you were created to do?

God wants you to find fulfillment in your work--this is his gift. Work is not a punishment, it is a blessing. Your job can be more than just 40 hours of misery that you endure to pay the bills--it can give you sense of fulfillment and purpose.

A few years ago a man named Brad worked for me. His title was "Business Manager"--his job was to balance the books, pay the bills, write checks, do payroll--things like that. Brad was a likeable person and did his job adequately, but he didn't seem to be very ambitious or enthusiastic about work. I just thought that was his nature.

Once, when we needed new space, we decided to convert a store room into an office. New book shelves had to be built and a new wall had to be added to the room. Brad convinced me that we couldn't afford to hire somebody to do it, then he volunteered to do the job himself. For the next two weeks or so, he immersed himself in this project. He came in early and stayed late--working 12 to 14 hours a day to get the job done. During this time Brad laughed more than I had ever heard him laugh, and he moved faster than I had ever seen him move. Clearly, Brad was in the wrong profession. As a bean counter he was a fish out of water. His passion was carpentry.

After the project was finished, I mentioned to Brad how noticeably different his attitude was. He admitted that he didn't like his job, and that what he really wanted to do was build things. I told him that I would hate for him to quit, but he should consider doing work he enjoyed. The end result was that Brad resigned about three months later and started his own business. I was one of his first customers. He now builds decks, sunrooms, and fireplaces--and he loves going to work everyday.

Marsha Sinetar has written a book titled "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow." This is a great concept: find a job that you love and don't worry about income--as long as you can earn enough to meet your basic needs. Money isn't the most important aspect of your career. It is far more rewarding to spend your life doing something you love, something you find fulfilling, something that enables you to do good for others, something that enables you glorify God. If you do that, the money will take care of itself. Proverbs says,

Do you know a hard-working man? He shall be successful and stand before kings. (Proverbs 22:29)

Conclusion Since we spend 40% of our lives at work--as much as 150,000 hours in an average lifetime--it is crucial that we find the right job and do what God has called us to. Sometimes the temptation is to base this decision solely on financial matters. Though this is important, it is not all there is to it. There is more to it than that: Does the job give you a chance to do good? Does the job give you a sense of fulfillment?

If you're among the 70% who don't like their current job, then one of two things has to change. Either you have to change your job, or change the way you do your job. God wants to give you a job you can love.

Loving your job may be a matter of asking yourself these questions, making a list of all that is good about it, and changing your attitude toward your work. Or it may be a matter of changing career direction entirely. It is a decision that you do not have to make on your own--God will guide you every step of the way.

As you consider these things, here is a final reminder. Whether you love your job, or whether you are in the process of learning to love your job, it is crucial to remember that we don't work for ourselves, or for any company or organization. We work for God, and we should do our jobs for him. Paul said,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

(c) Steve May


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Steve May has been a pastor to pastors for more than 20 years, helping preachers and teachers to become more effective communicators of the gospel.

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Sermon Outline:


When you are excelling at work, it is easier to enjoy other areas of your life.

I. Does this job provide enough to meet my needs?

II. Does this job give me the opportunity to do good?

III. Does this job give me a sense of fulfillment?


God wants to give you a job you can love.