Do you despise your job?
As a Christian, it can be hard working at a job that you hate. Even worse, it can be hard to thrive in a dark work environment— an environment where sin is not just discussed, but openly celebrated.
The road is difficult. But it’s not impossible.
I started working at age 14.
1. I’ve had bosses that were severe micro-managers.
2. I’ve been cheated out of money.
3. I’ve been made fun of for my Christian faith.
4. I’ve had co-workers gossip and lie about me.
5. I’ve been forced to work for free.
I guess the hardest part was doing a bunch of work that I knew I didn’t want to do forever. I’ve felt called into pastoral ministry for a long time, so I knew deep down that these jobs would only be for a season.
To make it worse, I always seemed to land jobs in tough work environments. Call it Providence or God working on my character or whatever, but through this all, I’ve learned a lot about the pains and trials of work. And now that I’m heading to Seminary this fall, I’ve been reflecting on my time “stuck” in all those “secular” jobs.
If you’re at a job that you hate, here’s a few things that may help.
Be competent and work hard
I used to think that the only way to glorify God at work was through personal evangelism. If my co-workers weren’t converted, I dishonored God.
But that changed when I read Tim Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor. “The very first way to be sure you are serving God in your work is to be competent,” says Keller.
You might be tempted to think, “I hate this job. I don’t know why I’m here. I’m just going to buy my time until I can find something better.” Don’t do it — not even for a second.
This mentality dishonors God and will increase your misery. If you, however, “work heartily as for the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:23),” and if you grow in competency and create excellence, you’ll experience inner joy and satisfaction even if you loathe your job title.
Don’t try to act like someone you’re not.
Once people find out that you’re a Christian, you may feel tempted to try to act like someone you’re not. People will sniff it out and this will only hurt your witness.
Yes, you want to evangelize your co-workers and display godliness through your words and actions. But you’re not a perfect employee, and that’s okay.
Work hard, tell people about Jesus, and when you mess up, take responsibility and just move on.
Private devotions are essential.
Few trials are more taxing than working 40+ hours a week doing something you hate. And while private devotions are always important, it’s especially important in hard seasons of life.
Ask God to give you strength, to change your attitude, and to help you honor him along the way. Then, dive deeply into his Word to find the strength to proceed. If you’re weak in devotions, you’ll be weak at work.
There is a difference between grumbling and sharing your struggles.
Sharing your struggles says, “I don’t understand this. But I’m going to press forward, and I need Christian community to help.”
Grumbling says, “This is God’s fault and I don’t know why stuff like this always happens to me.”
Tell other trusted Christians friends about your hardships at work, but avoid grumbling. It’s unattractive to others and sinful to God.
It’s OK to quit.
You’re not a slave to your employer. If it’s unbearable and you feel like you’d be better off somewhere else, it’s okay to move on.
I once stayed at a job longer than I should have. I over-analyzed the situation thinking that “God wanted me to be there.” While God does indeed call us into certain careers and callings, we tend to make decisions like this harder than they need to be. If at all possible, try to find something that you enjoy where you can glorify God and serve others. Besides, his Providence is directing your every move.
I don’t want to sound like a guru because there really is no magic formula to this. Some suffering on the job is our fault; some of it is just the nature of the Fall. And we shouldn’t be surprised that work is hard because the Bible tells us that it would be. But when you think about heavenly rewards, when you think about working for the King and God making you more like Him through your trial, then, well, I guess a hard job isn’t so bad after all.
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