It’s not uncommon among people at my day job to answer, “Livin’ the dream” when asked how their day is going.
And, as I’m sure you already know, there’s an undercurrent of sarcasm in that reply.
For most people, it seems Monday stinks and they can’t wait till (Thank God!) it’s Friday.
There have been numerous studies that have found somewhere around 70% of the American public hates their jobs. About sixty percent of us report being emotionally detached at work, forty-five percent would not wish their jobs on their worst enemy, and nineteen percent consider themselves “miserable.” Over two-thirds of us spend five-sevenths of our lives hating where we are and what we are doing.
And yet, we live in one of the most comfortable and blessed places in all the earth in all of history.
Disease, poverty, unemployment, and almost all the measures of misery in this nation are lower than they have ever been.
And still, people are not truly happy.
Which makes me wonder if the problem is the dream. Are we unhappy because we have an expectation of reality that’s unrealistic? Are we striving for some mythical, imaginary state that can never be obtained? What do we really want anyway? What would make us happy?
I spent a significant part of my life striving for a dream that involved money, comfort, leisure, and (to be honest) that which is carnal.
It took me a long time to finally figure out that true happiness does not reside in the temporary pleasures of this earth –and I still forget from time to time. (See last week’s blog.)
On a positive note, job satisfaction statistics do show higher positive numbers among Christians because we find meaning and purpose in our jobs.
The reality is, when we know who we are in our Father’s eyes, it changes life entirely. Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
If our jobs are part of that, our jobs are part of God’s plan for us. And, of course, there’s 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (NIV)
And that means that no matter what you do –from brain surgeon to dog catcher– it is valuable and worthy of being done joyfully, properly, and well to the praise of His glory. In the light of all God’s Word says about us and what we do for the glory of King Jesus, it is all noble and glorious and good.
It means that even if your contribution to the kingdom of God isn’t on the list of what we commonly call “jobs,” you are still valuable and needed and loved.
One of my relatives has a poster with “Life’s Little Rules” on the wall that includes such wisdom as “Watch the sun rise at least once a year” and “Always return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.”
Paul wrote such a list in Romans 12: 6-16. Let’s consider them Today’s Praise:
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (NLT)