I hate my job. I hate my co-workers. I hate my boss. I can’t stand the way people are treated at my company. My job is boring.–These are complaints many of us have made at some point in our work. Jobs we hate can feel soul-sucking and even drain joy from the rest of life, outside of work. If you have a job you hate, how might God be calling you?
There are two paths you could take. The first option is to find a new job. However, for many, finding a new job isn’t an immediate option. (Discerning whether God might be calling you to a different job is a topic for another article.) The second option is to ask God how you can approach the job you currently have in a more meaningful way. Because God’s calling to you right here, right now, is in the place where you are, right here and right now.
Here are three, practical, godly ways you can fulfill God’s calling in your current job, for as long as you have it.
1. Take pride in supporting yourself and your family.
For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. (2 The.3:10)
Part of the reason you work is to eat. Whether your job is paid or unpaid (as with stay-at-home parenting for example), working to provide for yourself and others is a valid part of your calling.
2. Be generous to others, both on the job and elsewhere.
Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. (Eph.4:28b)
Working enables us to give financially or materially to those in need elsewhere. However, you can also challenge yourself to be generous in other ways, to people in your workplace. For example, generosity could include finding ways to affirm your colleagues; the gift of encouragement can be much-needed in the workplace. Helping a co-worker struggling with a task, taking time to eat lunch together or even praying with someone in crisis are all ways we can be generous.
3. Work so that other people in your workplace will respect the way you live.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live… (1 The.4:11-12)
How can you live so as to be a witness to God’s love in the workplace, even in a job you hate? First, you can do the most excellent work you are capable of.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Col.3:23)
Second, take care of the people around you ahead of taking care of yourself–not just in word, but in deed. What you say to others is important, but your actions prove your words.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Php.2:1-3)
You can do as much for a job that you hate as a job that you love.
If your job feels like a curse, pray for it. Pray for those around you and find ways to generously love them. Consider doing as much for the job you hate as you would for a job you love. See what happens. If you find yourself hating your job, what is God calling you to do today?
Adapted from a sermon by Will Messenger, Executive Editor, Theology of Work Project. The entire sermon can be found here.