The following is a very Christiany post. I won’t apologize for it.
We had a really great adult Sunday School last weekend on work and finding your calling. It reminded me of how much I love my job, how difficult yet how rewarding motherhood is, and that all work can glorify God just by doing it well.
Martin Luther (of 95 Thesis fame) was once approached by a Christian who asked how he could glorify God. Luther asked the man’s profession, and when he replied that he was a cobbler, Luther told him to make a good pair of shoes and sell it at a fair price.
Our pastor told that story, and reminded us that God is providentially answering prayers through our work. God uses means. He gave humans intelligence and wisdom to figure out chemotherapy, and He uses that to eradicate cancer every day. When we pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” it doesn’t show up like manna like it did for the Israelites, it comes from the baker.
That doesn’t mean that God’s not a part of it.
As humans, we’re meant to work. God created the Heavens and the Earth, and then he created Man to work it. We’re meant to take satisfaction in work well done. Personally, I’ve always related to the connection as an image-bearer and the oft-repeated phrase in the beginning of Genesis, “And God saw that it was good.”
Creating the Heavens and Earth is hard work, man! Our Father took satisfaction in a job well done, and dang it, I do too, while simultaneously remembering that it is only through Him that I accomplish anything at all.
After establishing that work is good and glorifying to God, our pastor went into the whole ‘how do you know?’ aspect of things. First things first – pray for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Then we have to use those brains that God gave us and answer some questions:
- What interests you, and what are you willing to invest to obtain the skills needed for that particular vocation?
- What are you good it? Is this a realistic choice?
- How will this benefit your neighbor/fellow man?
As the pastor was going over these questions, I couldn’t help but think about the post about motherhood and Ann Romney I recently wrote. None of those questions had anything to do with money. Just because full time at-home moms don’t earn a paycheck doesn’t mean they don’t work. They work their hineys off.
I will address the money issue enough to say that earning a paycheck does benefit your neighbor. Earning a paycheck means that you are not relying on the charity of others. A couple that decides together for one parent to stay home and manage things that they would otherwise pay someone else to do (housework, childcare, etc.) is still glorifying God with their work even though only one of them officially earns a paycheck.
Every single person that does their job well and doesn’t try to cheat people is glorifying God. Moms, dads, surgeons, baristas, accountants, actors, plumbers, and any profession in between … Do your job well to serve your neighbor. It’s hard to come by that daily bread without the farmer to grow the wheat, the miller to grind it, the baker to bake it, the electrician to fix the baker’s ovens, the truck drivers to ship the loaves to the stores, the grocers to sell it …
Work matters. There is no such thing as a demeaning job, because any job that serves our neighbor is useful and should be done well and treated with respect. God says so, and it’s kinda hard to argue with that guy.