Melvin Twigg Mason
Dictionary.com defines career as “an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, one’s lifework.” The word job is defined as “a piece of work, especially a specific task(s) done as part of the routine of one’s occupation.”
Unfortunately, the latter description seems to be how most Americans view their 9-5 obligation, as truly a chore; a routine to be managed day in and day out until one reaches the golden age of retirement!
This observation is supported by many experts in the field, and is the subject of R. Kent Hughes’ chapter The Discipline of Work, in his book “Disciplines of A Godly Man.”
In this chapter, Hughes reminds us that working and work are not a curse. Even our Creator has labored from the beginning. He also assigned work to Adam, the first man who was created in His image. He commanded him to tend the Garden of Eden and to name each of the creatures. God even provided a helpmate for the man, a woman named Eve. However, there was a curse attached to their labors following their disobedience to God. Genesis 3:1-24
Hughes directs our attention to Genesis 3:17 – “Cursed is the ground because of you…in sorrow [and sweat] you shall eat from it.” Hughes contends that working is not the curse, but the difficulties and struggles that may occur therein are!
“When we have God at the center of our work though, things change. [He] does not remove the curse and its painful, sweaty toil, but…each of us has…a designed work assignment that includes the task, the ability, and the place to serve.”
Hughes calls for each of us to discover our “workmanship,” our design and purpose, in Christ Jesus. In so doing, we become more like our Creator, and more our true selves. Not to mention that we get out of the way of those who are designed for the “grind” job that we currently, unhappily occupy. It’s a win-win for everyone concerned!
Once we men begin to appropriately pursue the ‘discipline of work,’ Hughes writes that there are four (4) attitudes that will (or should!) regularly shine forth in our work ethic:
- Energy – The opposite of laziness. Having energy in our occupation adds a natural, positive element to our work. Our God regularly cries out against “the sluggard” who runs away from working. (Prov.26:14-15)
- Enthusiasm – Hughes says enthusiasm is always paired with energy because we are then passionate about what we do. (Col. 3:23-24)
- Wholeheartedness – We are to give our full efforts to our work activities whether or not our employers or clients are watching us “because our Heavenly Father is watching — always!”
- Excellence (not perfection) – Perfection is doing things flawlessly, by all standards. Excellence is doing what you do and doing it well; giving the work your best efforts.
The author concludes “you’ll do well to hold this biblical truth: that your vocation, however humble, is a calling from God and should be done for His glory.”
Below are several links recommended to help you discover your purpose/career:
In Pursuit of Purpose, Myles Munroe
LifeKeys: Who You Are/Why You’re Here/What You Do Best, Jane Kise and David Stark