Photo by ronnieb on Morgue File.
If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.
Ultimately, my job does not define who I am. It is what I do, not who I am. Occupations in the adult world, become something akin to brand name clothing in the sphere of teenagers; in other words, we use them to make a quick evaluation and judgment of the person.
Just think about it, when a person meets someone for the first time, what is one of the very first questions asked? What do you do for a living? Now, there may be a couple of reasons for asking this question. One, to see what you have in common with the other person. Maybe the person works in a field similar to your own; then, you will have an instant in-road for conversation. However, I am afraid the question is asked more often in order to pigeonhole the person. We make snap judgments and decisions about the person, all based on the answer to that one question. This is where the idea of stereotyping comes into play.
Based on the answer to the question, we quickly deduce (often times wrongly) the person’s educational background, socio-economic status, intelligence, importance in society, worth as a person (and worth to us), along with many other things. For instance, if we find out a person is a doctor or scientist, then we esteem them highly. We give them passing marks across the board. We consider this person to be worthy of our time and worth the extended hand of friendship; after all, this person may come in handy down the road. In short, we view them worthy of our time and selves, we view them as a useful commodity.
However, if we learn that the person is a brick layer or a janitor, well, we may not give them such high marks. We may conclude (again, often wrongly) that the person does not have an advanced education, is not very high in the socio-economic sphere, may lack in overall intelligence (after all, how hard is it to lay bricks? have you ever tried it?); thus, this person is probably not worth our time or effort. So, we move on to the next person, hoping to find someone of substance and open-mindedness like ourselves! We have made the value judgement that this person is not a high priority commodity; unless, of course, we are needing some construction done around the house or are in need of a good janitor for our business, school or church.
Now, I know not everyone does this, thankfully so. But, if we are not careful we will fall into this tendency. The tendency of treating others as a commodity. When we do this, people become things instead of persons.
Truth is you cannot judge a book by its cover. You may meet someone who is a tradesman or laborer and that person may be as intelligent as the doctor standing across the room. And, if you take the time to talk to the person long enough, you may find they have varied interests, interests that go beyond their occupation. You may even find they are talented in many fields.
After all, why can a person not be an expert carpenter and a sculptor? Or, why can a person not be a bricklayer and an accomplished pianist? It could very well be the bricklayer is far more multi-dimensional and interesting than the doctor. But, I do not want to be prejudiced against doctors: he/she may be a skilled surgeon and also an able plumber!
In our society it seems we have become specialist. We think we, or others, can only do one thing. What happened to the idea of the renaissance man or woman? The person who had varied and wide-ranging interests?
Now, I will agree that what we do may be an extension of who we are. While I think there is more to a person than what they do, I do think it can be an extension of our true selves.
There are people who have a certain occupation simply to have a job. Their job is a means to an end. If they did not have to do that job, then they would not. But, there are others who enjoy their work. There are others who see their occupation as an extension of themselves; as an expression of their likes and interests.
In the end, we should enjoy what we do. We should do it to the best of our ability . . . not just for the pay, but for the ethic of it.
God has blessed me with certain talents and gifts. I hope and pray to use those for his glory. For me, that is what is most important. I consider myself, first and foremost, a teacher. Yet, my primary earning job is not as a teacher. This does not bother me, nor is it contradictory to me. I am a teacher whether I am laying bricks (which I have never done and would be terrible at doing!) or an astronaut or whatever else.
A person must ultimately find their passion. They must find what God created them to do. Once they have done this, they must live that out with all they are. Only then will they experience true happiness and contentment.
After all, Paul was a tradesman, a tent-maker, and one of the most intelligent men of his era: highly educated, a gifted writer, an expert theologian, pastor, teacher, church planter and apostle.
Jesus was a tradesman, a carpenter by trade, as well as being: Son of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, Messiah, Savior, God incarnate . . . well, you get the idea.
Not too shabby company!
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. (Col. 3.23-25)