Day 12

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians‬ 15‬:58‬ NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

This is going to be as personal an exploration of my work life as I can reasonably put out into the world. I hope it helps.

I started working for real when I was in college. Sure, I’d had odd jobs before that; things like babysitting, working retail, or hitting balls at a local tennis club. But it was when I showed up at Mitchell & Ness in Philadelphia towards the end of my Junior year that I had my first real job. Since then, I’ve been in journalism, retail, real estate development, and even for more time than I care to remember, unemployed. Over all those years in the workforce (and out) there have been plenty of ups and downs. Times when I could barely get to sleep because I couldn’t wait to get up and get to work the next day, and times when I could barely muster up the motivation to get myself out of bed and head to the office.

I can’t count how many days I have found myself physically at my job but feeling like I would rather be anywhere else in the world than where I was. I am sure it is a feeling we can all relate to at one time or another. And I am certainly not the person to write a self-help essay about how to put God in our work and therefore salvage our joy for our jobs. I’m the poster boy for not knowing how to do that. Plus, burnout is real. Finding yourself in a less than inspiring vocation is real. Simply injecting God into a crappy situation will not always result in the betterment of that crappy situation. But I am here to tell you that it might help to survive the crappy situation until we are able to hear Him tell us what else to change in order to get out of that crappy situation and into something that allows us to glorify Him.

Interestingly, the passage above doesn’t say labor “for” the Lord is not in vain, it says labor “in” the Lord. That means any work that we do, if we do it by putting the Lord in that work, it will not be in vain. It may not fulfill a passion or change the world, but it won’t be in vain, which means we can rest assured that He is using it for something in our lives. I try to remind myself as often as I can that standing firm doesn’t mean standing still. That “something in our lives” is ahead of us. Let’s always be moving forward.

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