Monday, August 19, 2013

When You Don't Like Your Job

Recently we've been studying the book of Job on Sunday mornings in our series on suffering. The catalytic question of the book is found on the lips of Satan in mocking challenge of God's assessment of his servant Job:
Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." (Job 1:9-11)
Satan is saying that Job is an religious mercenary. He claims that Job "fears" and "trusts" and "loves" and "worships" God because God has given him so many gifts. Were God to take them away, Job's fair weather faith would be exposed and he would curse God. His fear of God is suspect precisely because his life is so circumstantially blessed. How can it be clear that Job wants God for God when he has it so good?

So the challenge begins. Is God worthy of fear and trust and love and worship "for nothing," that is, for who he is in himself alone -- even if all else is taken away?

If you've read this far, you're probably wondering what in the world this could have to do with advice for someone who doesn't like his or her job (yes, you read the title correctly the first time - this post is not about not liking the man from Uz). Here is the connection.

The main reason you are in your present place of employment is to glorify God (because that is the main reason for existence, and everything in it! 1 Cor. 10:31). So, how do you magnify the glory and worth and goodness of God in your job? There are lots of ways. Doing your work with excellence. Refusing to be a slave of expedience and the bottom line and genuinely striving for good goods and services that really do have your clients' good in mind. And on and on. But the one I want to focus on is your attitude - of heart, in speech (what you say and don't say), in body language, etc.

If you had your dream job surrounded by a bunch of people who thought you walked on water and with whom you just loved to work, if the compensation was more than you could ask for and the benefits were great, if the work environment was always healthy and positive and growth was always up, up, up, then guess what? Your contentment and joy and gratitude would be suspect. Is he or she so happy because of God or because of enviable employ? Who needs grace to be gracious in an environment like that? Who needs supernatural support to stay away from slander and the gossip mill when there is no temptation? Who needs grace to be content and patient and grateful and joyful when the world is your oyster? Who needs grace to keep from complaining when there's nothing to complain about?

Job's faith was not mercenary. And yet God tested him sorely in order to make that fact abundantly clear (and to purify him to make him shine even more like gold). Job's life magnified the worth of God precisely because he didn't curse God when everything was taken away.

If you don't like your job, Job would like you to know that you have a unique opportunity to magnify the worth of your God. You can show even more clearly that your joy and contentment and gratitude and peace and hope and life are not dependent on a dream job. They are dependent on the God of Job.

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