What does calling mean if you hate your job? (Podcast)

Audio / Produced by Individual TOW Project member

"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life," said Confucius. "Love what you do and do what you love," said Ray Bradbury. Our cultures place enormous importance on finding the perfect job, but what do you do if you believe that God has called you to your job but you still hate it? This sermon was given by Will Messenger. 

This sermon is also an illustration of applying Freedom in Christ to work.

It is available for download in iTunes. Click here to listen.

Special thanks to the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Greater Boston.

TRANSCRIPT OF "what does calling mean if you hate your job?"

I really am glad that Steve asked me to talk about calling, because I’ve been studying calling for about the last 15 years in the way Steve mentioned, and most recently at this organization called the Theology of Work Project. I want to thank my colleagues at the Theology of Work Project for helping me think, especially about calling. 

I talk about calling all the time, so I thought, “This is going to be a piece of cake.” Except that I made a promise a couple months ago that I realized I was going to have to fulfill. And that was to my friend, Kay. Kay said to me, “I’m so tired of hearing about calling, and [how] God leads you to this wonderful job, and everything fits perfectly, and you just have this fantastic experience of work. Because that’s not what happens to me.—I’ve got a job that I don’t like, but I can’t quit because I need the money. So if you ever get to preach at our church, I want you to preach about if you don’t like your job.” 

And I thought, no one’s ever going to ask me to preach, so I said, “Sure, Kay, whatever you want. I’ll preach about that.” 

And then Steve called. So now I’m stuck trying to preach about “what if you don’t like your job.” So that’s the twist, so here goes, and let’s see if it works. 

(By the way, Kay gave me permission to tell you this; and she was at the first service, and she didn’t hit me very hard afterward, so I think it’s all ok. But Kay’s boss, if you’re listening, this is not the Kay who works for you. This is a different Kay.)

Fortunately, I’m very experienced in jobs that I hated. In fact, I hated my first job.—It was the summer I turned 15, and I got a job cutting the grass at my church in a little town in southern Delaware. And it seemed like we had acres of land. It took me 4-5 hours to cut the grass. And it’s always hot-and-sticky humid in Delaware in the summer. So I’m drenched in sweat, and dirty and tired and aching and sore. But the worst part was I had to cut the grass with a motorized, real lawn mower. So this hurricane of grass clippings would just come up for 5 hours straight. So by the end, all these grass clippings are stuck to my body. I feel like I just crawled through some attic insulation. My eyes are streaming like Niagara Falls. And what I didn’t realize then is, I’m allergic to grass. I thought everybody had that reaction to grass. So I just thought, you know, I’ve just gotta suck it up and get to work. Plus, that was the best job I could get being 15 with no experience and no skills.—And you know, it takes a lot of money for cokes and John Denver albums, so I had to keep the job. 

So my situation then was a lot like Kay’s now. I hated my job, but I couldn’t quit because I needed the money. And that’s true of a lot of people. 

According to a Gallup poll from August 2012, less than half of U.S. workers are completely satisfied with their jobs. Federal job worker satisfaction worked an all time low in December 2013. And in 2013, Gallup reported that just 30% of Americans feel engaged and inspired at work.

So how does God help us with this problem?

After working through the entire Bible from the point of work for the last few years, my colleagues and I have found 3 ways that God calls or guides people in their work. There are few people in the Bible God calls specifically, [as God did with] Moses and the burning bush, where God calls out of a burning bush, “Moses get my people out of Egypt.” There may be a hundred people that get called that way. I’m talking about everybody else. And everybody else that gets called or led to work by God in the Bible seems to be one of three ways.

The first is: Use your gifts, skills, talents and abilities. We all have different mixes of gifts, skills, talents and abilities. And the mix God gives you is a clue to the calling or guidance God has for your work. And the Bible names some gifts that God gives. For instance: 

We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith;  ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)

So there [you have] are five or six gifts, or skills or talents, like teaching or generosity or diligence. Those are just a few examples of God’s gifts of skills, talent and ability that are mentioned in the Bible. 

The point is that what you’re good at is a way of discerning God’s calling. Whatever God wants you to do, he probably will give you the gifts and abilities to do it.—So going back to my lawn mowing job, obviously, I did not have the gift of not being allergic to grass. I also thought my gifts were more intellectual and less physical. Honestly, I thought this kind of beneath me. So I could go on and on about why I didn’t think the job of lawn mowing was God’s calling for me. 

But let’s move on to my friend Kay. Maybe the reason my friend Kay hates her job is because it’s not a good match for her gifts and skills and abilities. So I called and asked her. “No,” she said, “my job is a great match for my skills. I’m trained as an architect, and I have experience in construction management, so it was good preparation for this job. And the feedback that I get from my colleagues is that I’m doing a good job.”  

So a poor fit between her gifts and skills and her job is not the reason Kay hates her job. And I’m kind of glad that’s not the reason actually. Because I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about your gifts and skills. You probably know your gifts and skills pretty well. Because I think we live in the most gift-analyzed generation in human history. We have the Myers Briggs, the Wexford, the Stanford-Benet, the MMPI, Strong’s Aptitude Test, SAT, PSAT, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT and of course the MCAS. And all this gift analysis can lead to a kind of self absorption and work paralysis.

I think it’s easy to pick up the message that no one in the world is quite like you - which is true - and that means there’s that one job that only you can do - which is rubbish. Any job that you or I can do, there’s probably tons of people in the world that can do it. So the idea that there’s this one job waiting for you, it’s false I think. Plus, it’s a horrible burden. If you have to spend your life searching for the one true job, and you can’t be satisfied with the job that you’re good at, or that you enjoy, or that you’re gifted at, what a restless way to live life. 

So part of God’s guidance is to pay attention to your skills and gifts. Definitely hone your gifts, go to grad school, pay attention to that. But it’s only one of the ways God guides people to work.

The second way is to pay attention to the needs of the world. You can become aware of what needs to be done in the world, and you can start to do it. And if you do, God gives you help. For instance, David noticed there was a giant warrior named Goliath that needed to be gotten out of the way in order to remove the threat to Israel. So he went out and did it. He wasn’t particularly gifted as a soldier, as far as he knew, because he was a shepherd. But he saw that it needed to be done, so he went and did it. 

Or one day Jesus was speaking to thousands of people, it started getting dark, and his disciples came to him and said, “Jesus, all these people are getting hungry. We better send them away to see if they can make it to town in time to buy some food.” 

And he said, “No, you’ve noticed this need—you feed them.”

So they scrounged up five loaves and two fishes, and with God’s help, they fed all the people that were there. They noticed a need and took care of it. And there are some passages on your sheet that talk about this. 

Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others. Then they will not be unproductive. (Titus 3:14)

Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you. (Jeremiah 29:7)—Peace and prosperity were two things the city needed.

Or this one from Jesus. Jesus discussing eternity or entrance into eternal life: Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25:34-36)—This sounds pretty important the way Jesus described it. As if when you’re looking back over your life, the most important question about your work is: how did you serve the needs of other people?

So I think this is a really important clue, or way God guides you to particular work. 

Now when I say “the needs of the world”, this could be huge needs, like curing malaria, or tiny needs like helping a new colleague figure out a computer system or computer network. The needs of the world just means anything that makes the world more like the way God wants the world to be. 

Of course, it would be impossible for you to meet all the needs of the world. So you have to narrow it down somehow. I’d say, start with the needs you are personally responsible for, such as raising your children or paying your bills. Beyond that, pay attention to needs that you are in a good position to meet, or that nobody else seems willing to pay attention to. So for instance, if you lived in the same place for a long time, then maybe you’re in position to run for the school board or some volunteer position for your community. On the other hand, if you’re pretty mobile, maybe you’re in a position to go halfway across the world and document human rights abuses—something that lots of people could do, but few are in a position to do. You might become convinced that teaching troubled youth is more important than another grad degree. Or perhaps it would become clear that something other than your job or career would be the most important way that you meet the needs of the world.

Maybe your real calling is something you don’t get paid for. So you get a job to support yourself and to make it possible to meet the needs of the world in some other way. Einstein recommended that. A PhD. student asked him, “What’s the best job to get in physics?” And Einstein’s answer was, “Plumber.” [He was recommending:] get a job as a plumber, get your work done, and then in the rest of your time, you can do all the physics you want without having to worry about who’s looking over your shoulder. 

The point is that God gives you the ability to recognize needs and to take action to help meet them. God seems to expect you to notice what needs to be done, not just sit around waiting for him to speak to you out of a burning bush. 

This brings to mind another job I hated. Right after college, I got a job as a salesman for IBM. And I didn’t expect this because I didn’t study business as an undergrad, and in fact, I was kind of suspicious of business. Because you know, “profit” and “greed” and “corporate ladder”—it all just sounded kind dirty or maybe morally suspicious to me. 

It turned out that I loved this job, and that really confused me. And the part I loved—my job was to find out what my customers’ business problems were and then find a way to solve them using IBM computers and software. And I liked that. I liked the problem solving, and I liked the relational aspect of working with people. 

—So I’ll give you an example. My biggest customer was a drug wholesale company. They supplied drugstores. So everything you might find in a drugstore could have been supplied by them. And one of their biggest problems was inventory control. They had to make sure they had enough of every drug in each of their regional warehouses so that if the pharmacy called and said they needed a drug, they could get it to them the next day. So if you came and you needed the drug, you could get it filled. So if they didn’t keep enough inventory, patients might not be able to get their drugs. But if they kept too much inventory, then they found it was expiring on the shelves, because drugs have a pretty short life. So they were throwing away a lot of expired drugs. And that’s driving up costs. But it’s important to keep costs low so that their customers, the mom-and-pop independent drug stores, can compete with the big chains. And so my work helped them develop a computer system that made sure they had the right drugs at the right place, at the right time, with the least possible waste. That was throughout the entire eastern half of the United States. I felt like I was really meeting a genuine need there. 

So why did I hate it?

I didn't like it because I didn’t think that that need was important in God’s eyes. I’d decided that the needs God cared most about were religious needs. So you had to be a pastor or a missionary. And then next health, so a doctor or a nurse or a cancer researcher. And then education - teacher or something like that. But I thought God didn’t really care about business needs. And so that caused me to wish I had some other job, like pastor, instead of really paying attention to the value of what I was doing. 

So I quit IBM, and every year since then, I feel a little bit more regret that I didn’t stick it out at IBM to see. I mean, IBM provides good jobs to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. And I know IBM software is being used to do malaria research, green energy, educational progress in city schools. I could have been a part of some of that. I guess it’s ok that I left IBM, and I’ve had some good jobs since then. But I wish I could have been aware that the job I had then, for as long as I had it, was really contributing to meeting the needs of the world, and was a way of fulfilling God’s calling and guidance. 

So if you hate your job, or you’re just dissatisfied because you don’t think it does anything important in the world, I’d say: look again. Does the product or service you’re providing meet someone’s true needs? Or could you do your job in a way that helps meet people’s needs? A salesperson for example could try to get you to buy something that you don’t need, or a salesperson could help you find something that will meet your real needs. So during the World Series, we were just captivated by Durrell and those commercials for Walmart. And he’s so enthusiastic you feel like, gosh, if I went to Walmart, he would help me find what I really need. 

So I called Kay. “Kay,” I said, “I know what your problem is. Your job is not helping meet the needs of the world.” 

“No, she said, “My work is actually pretty important. As one of the construction managers at the airport, I’m responsible for traffic flow and for terminals. So my job is to keep people safe and help them have an efficient, pleasant experience at the airport. I even get a chance to maybe make things more beautiful. And in fact, one of my recent projects was the 9/11 memorial. I actually got to create a kind of spiritual space right there at the airport. And that was great.” 

So that wasn’t Kay’s problem either.

Let’s move on to the third way that God calls or guides people to work. And that is through your deepest desires. Take a look at these passages from the Bible.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4)

God grants the desires of those who fear him. He hears their cry for help and rescues them. (Psalm 145:19)

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice. For they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

Whatever you desire, like hunger and thirsting, God will satisfy. That came as a surprise to me. For a long time, I figured if God was going to call me to something, it would be to something I didn’t want to do. Like, go away to a far country where I didn’t speak the language and become a missionary, which as an introvert, I probably would not like. I figured if God has to call you to it, it must be something you wouldn’t like. Otherwise, why would God have to call you? So this idea that God would give you a deep desire for what God is calling you to, that was a real surprise to me. Frederick Buechner says it this way: “The place God calls you is where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.” So the needs of the world and your deep desires come together. 

So I called Kay. “Kay I’ve got it! Your work doesn’t mesh with the deepest desires of your heart,” I said. 

“Well,” she said, “it’s true, my deepest desires are not architecture and construction management. My deepest desire is my husband and my children. But I do like architecture and construction. That’s what I chose to study in graduate school, and I don’t have any desire to another kind of job.”

So I guess that wasn’t Kay’s problem. 

But I had a job that conflicted with the desires of my heart.When I was sixteen I started working at the gas station, pumping gas, running credit cards, cleaning the bathrooms, but for me this was a step up from lawn mowing. At least I wasn’t allergic to gas. And I didn't’ mind the work. I didn’t mind any of it, not even cleaning the bathrooms. But what I hated about this job was the atmosphere. And what I hated the most was the way black people were treated at our gas station. If you were white, you pulled into the full service, we called you “sir” or “ma’am.”  We’d wash your windshield, we’d check your oil, whatever you wanted. We’d smile, we’d be polite and say “thank you, sir” at the end. If you were black and you pulled up to to the full service, we pumped your gas. That’s it. No sir, no ma’am, no washing your windshield, no checking your oil. And then, possibly as you were pulling out of the gas station, somebody would mutter some racial slur under their breath. Well, I hated that. It conflicted with one of the deepest desires of my heart. That I wanted people, everyone, to be treated with respect. I wasn’t able to put it that way—I wouldn’t have been able to say “this is a deep desire of my heart.” I would have just said, “It makes me feel bad. it makes me unhappy. I hate the way black people are treated here.” 

And I have to admit, it only conflicted with the deepest desires of my heart. It did not conflict with the surface desires of my heart. The surface desires were: I want to get along with everybody who works here because I have to go to school with them tomorrow; and I don’t want to lose my job. And I was afraid that if I rocked the boat or said something about the way black people were treated at our gas station, I knew the other guys would give me a lot of grief about it. And I was afraid the owner would probably fire me. Because his sons were the two most advanced dis-respecters at the whole gas station. So the only thing I did was treat black people with respect myself. So if you were black and I happened to be on duty, and you came up to full service, and I was the one who pumped your gas, I would call you “sir” or “ma’am”, I would wash your windshield, I’d check your oil if you wanted, I’d treat you with respect. So I kind of felt like I was doing my share. 

But I wish now I’d paid a lot more attention to this deeper desire I had that everyone would be treated with respect at the gas station. Looking back, I’d say that’s definitely a desire God planted in my heart. But I kind of buried it underneath my desire to get along. And I guess I thought there was nothing I could do about it. 

But looking back, I realize now I could have done something about the situation besides how I treated people myself.—I was of of only two gas jockeys who didn’t steal money from the cash register. All of the others would take a quarter from the cash register, take a quarter, and go buy a coke. (It was a long time ago.) Or they’d take a dollar out and go across to the Tasty Freeze and buy a hamburger. But I never took any money from the cash register. And the owner knew what was going on. And he also quickly realized that I was one of the only two that didn’t. Because if I was on duty alone - so nobody else had access to the register - when I took the cash bag to his house at the end of the shift, the amount of money in the bag always matched the tape from the cash register. So he knew I wasn’t cheating him. And actually, I got a raise; I got a twenty-five cent an hour raise for that. So I knew he appreciated me. 

So here’s what I could have done. One night when I took the cash register to his house, I could have said, “John, if you wonder why the cash in my bag always matching the register receipt, it’s exactly the same reason that I treat black people with respect at your gas station. I treat you with respect because I treat everyone with respect. And if you ever wanted to have a gas station where all the employees treated your money with respect, maybe you’ll have to create a gas station where your employees treat everyone with respect.” 

I could have said that. I’m sure now that I would not have gotten fired. And actually I’m pretty sure now that things would have changed. He would have thought about that a little bit. And I actually believe  - not overnight - but I believe it could have made a difference. I think it didn’t really occur to me that God’s call to me in that gas station was not just to do right myself, but to care about the whole system around me. God had given me a desire that I didn’t pay enough attention to. 

I guess I’m making a distinction between what I did for a job and how I did my work. In God’s eyes, the way you do your work is as important as what your work is. What I did was pump gas and clean bathrooms. And I have to say, even now, I’m proud of the way I can wash a windshield. Even when I go to a gas station now, I always wash the windshields of my car just because I can do it right. (If they have paper towels. It takes a paper towel to do it really right.) But, pumping gas and washing windshields was never going to be the deepest desire of my heart. But I did have this deep desire, put there by God, to treat people with respect. So how I did my job could have been as important to my calling as what job I did. 

So I talked to Kay about this aspect of deepest desire. “I think you’re onto something,” she said, “What I don’t like about my job is that people are treated badly. It’s not prejudice. Everyone is treated badly at my job. For example, whenever something goes wrong - and on big construction projects, something always goes wrong - whenever something goes wrong, the managers start blaming people in public. A boss will humiliate you in public, or tell people you did a poor job, or send an email or a memo blaming you. And it’s no fun, and I hate it.”

So if you want to know what God’s calling means if you hate your job, it could mean two things. God’s guidance could either help you find a new job, or it could help you do your current job more meaningfully. And I want to focus on the part about doing your current job more meaningfully.—If God is calling you to a new or different job, great go for it. But Kay’s challenge to me is, I’m not leaving my job, what’s God’s calling to me in my job?—And I’d say it’s to find a way to do your job more meaningfully. 

I want to talk about three practical godly ways to fulfill God’s calling in your current job, for as long as you have your current job. 

One: Take pride in supporting yourself and your family.—And I would add, even if it’s not paid. So I’ve been talking about work a lot as if it were a paid job. But we all do a lot of work that isn’t paid. And for some people, their full time job is not paid. So if your work is staying at home, raising kids, and preparing food, cleaning and cooking, taking care of the household, that’s a job, too. Take pride in that. And the scripture that goes with that is: “We gave you this command: Those unwilling to work should not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) So it’s right there in the Bible. Part of your job, part of the reason you work, is so you can eat. It’s good - to put it in positive terms - it’s good to work so that you can eat, so that you can meet your needs.  And in my mind, I’m connecting this to the gifts, skills, talents and abilities. If God gives you the ability to support yourself or your family by working, do it with pride. 

Now, I know some people’s abilities may be less, or you may have a permanent or temporary disability. You may not be able to support yourself completely through your work, but still, whatever ability God gives you to work, do it with pride. 

And this happened to me about five or six years ago. I got laid off from a ministry job that I thought God had called me to. So this was very confusing to me. I thought God had called me to this job. I loved it, I did it for almost ten years, and then I got laid off. So I thought, whoa, what’s that about? I know God must have another job like it that God is calling me to. So for five or six months, I was looking for another job of the same kind, in the field of faith and work. Meanwhile, every month, the mortgage has to be paid. The money’s going out and no money’s coming in. And finally after five or six months, I realized, the most important thing God’s calling me to is to earn a living. So I decided to start looking for jobs outside of this narrow specialty I thought God had for me.—Looking for another sales job or job as a budget director or financial analyst. And eventually, I felt completely at peace with that. Never before had I felt it would be ok to get a job primarily to earn a living. Ever since then, I’ve felt like, I’m proud I can do work that earns a living.

The second one is: Be generous to others, both on the job and elsewhere. And the scripture in your program that goes along with this is “Use your hands for good, hard work, and then give generously to those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)

The first part repeats the value of good hard work. But the second part adds, “give generously to others in need.” Now of course, one way to do that is you earn money through your good, hard work, and then you give it to people in need somewhere else. But I want to talk about giving generously to others in need at your work place. How can you be generous to those you work among? So for example, in Kay’s situation, could generosity mean going out of your way to affirm and praise your colleagues?—Affirmation is definitely a kind of generosity. And Kay told me this, “I do try to say thank you to people when they help me to do something at my job.—The admin for printing something, a colleague who transmits some information I need. I sign all emails with “Thanks. - Kay,” especially when requesting something. And as the song we’re going to sing later says, “Praise will confuse the enemy.” So if your job feels like the enemy, praising your co-workers will confuse the enemy. “It’s a discipline,” Kay says,”but I keep working at it. It doesn’t always come naturally to me, but I keep trying to work on this discipline.” 

So I wonder if the next step could be even more outrageous. I wonder if everybody at her job, next time someone gets blamed at a meeting, everybody stood up and said, “Well, I agreed with that approach, so blame me, too.” I’m thinking of that scene from Dead Poet’s Society—Robin Williams is a teacher that makes a great bond with his students, but that gets him in trouble with the administration. So the headmaster comes to fire him. And so one of the kids stands up on his desk, and says, “Captain, my captain.” One by one, all the other students say, “Captain my captain.” [Saying] “I am with you.” And at the end you feel like the entire atmosphere of the room has changed because people stand up for each other. That would at least get the manager’s attention. Maybe it would get them all fired, I don’t know. 

Well, maybe blame isn’t the problem in your workplace. Maybe there’s another way that generosity could come forth in your workplace. Like helping a colleague who’s struggling with a task. Instead of thinking that you have to compete with the other people, what if you said, “I’m going to work to make everybody else more productive, more capable. I’m going to be generous to others in helping them.” 

Or what about volunteering for a task that nobody else wants to do? Like David did with the Israelite army against Goliath. Or what about listening to someone? Or even praying with them in a crisis.—There are lots of ways to be generous not just off the job, or with your money, but with the people you work for and among. 

Number three is: Work so that other people in your workplace will respect the way you live. The verse that goes with this one is: 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, and you will not need to depend on others.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) 

So the first part and the last part of this passage are about hard work and supporting yourself with your hands. But the middle part is, “then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live.” Now, this comes from a letter that was written by a group of Christians. So by “non-Christians”, what it means is others, people who aren’t a part of your group. So in other words, do what it takes for other people to respect you, to actually respect you. Not just what you think is needed. Pay attention to how your work affects others. 

Now how can you earn people’s respect in a job you hate? First, you can do the most excellent work you’re capable of. In a workplace, doing the work with excellence is a great way to earn respect because it meets people’s needs. Secondly, you can be honest, even when it’s not to your advantage. And one way of honesty that I recommend is by telling people in advance if you’re going to do something that they’re not going to like. So I’ve had jobs where I’m deciding strategy or making long-term decisions. And I found that if I know I’m going to disagree with somebody about a proposal, if I go to that person in advance, and say, “I just want to tell you that next Tuesday, I’m going to be opposed to this idea,” that is a hundred percent, a thousand percent better than ambushing them at the meeting and disagreeing with them. I’ve been amazed that being honest about something that’s a little painful to you - how that earns respect. And third, you can take care of people around you ahead of taking care of yourself. If you look out for number 2, and number 3 and number 4, before looking out for number 1, it earns respect. So what you say to other people on the job, that’s good. But what you do is a lot more important, according to this verse. Actions speak louder than words. 

So I want to  look at what Jesus said. “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” 

So if you think of your job as the enemy, or your job as something you hate.—So I’m not thinking of loving an enemy person, or hating an enemy person—but if you think of your job as an enemy.—Love your enemy. Do good to your enemy. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek to them also. If someone demands your coat, offer them your shirt also. If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that?” So if your job feels like an enemy, if you hate your job, try blessing your job instead of cursing it. Try praying for your job and for the people you work with. If your job slaps you around one day, go back the next day and dare your job to do it again. I don’t mean accepting abuse at work. I think we should always resist being abused at work. But if you just feel like yesterday was a bad today, go back today and see if it can be better. If your job demands too much of you, give it the shirt off your back, too. And again I’m not saying spend more time at work. But in other words, do as much for a job that you hate as you would do for a job that you love. Because God’s calling to you right here, right now, is in the place where you are, right here and right now. 

That’s what I think it means to follow God’s calling if you hate your job. 

Can I pray for us for a moment? Dear God, I thank you for the gifts and skills and abilities to work. And I know that work is a gift from you, not a curse. But I confess that I have not always paid attention to the things you set before me. The work that I could do to make the world a better place, to meet people’s needs. And I do ask you to plant in me a desire to recognize and do the work that you want me to do—to recognize that desire and bring it to the surface. And I ask the same for everyone in this room who’s willing. Show us tomorrow, or today, or this week, what it is that we can be about. What your calling is to us in the places where we are, in the work that we do, whether we love it or whether we hate it. And I pray that maybe by doing this you would make us hate our jobs a little bit less. In Jesus’ name. Amen.