A Mental Endeavor in (and of) Labor

Too long have I waited to write down my thoughts and feelings, partially to personal apathy and perhaps more so to the ambitions of personal entertainment I indulge in frequently. Yet I often feel the reason I write so infrequently is because nothing truly happens, but rather everything only changes in my head. I am blessed with the curse of unexcitement, that is to say I have very little craziness in my life right now. The most drama I have to deal with on a daily basis is the confused clientele at work and the nagging of my parents at home. Were my circumstances different I might complain, but in all the honesty my deceitful bones can summon I am truly content. However today has prompted me to consider where I stand, a week shy of my 24th birthday, and where I wish to go…

Earlier today I read an article from Relevant Magazine entitled “11 Things You Should Know by 25ish“, and #1 jumped out at me right away (not because it’s at the top but because of what it addresses).  A job I enjoy, well that’s a tough one at first thought, because there are a lot of things I enjoy doing.  I’ve spent almost a third of my life working in some form of customer service, whether it be running a register, answering someone’s desperate question, making people’s meals, or cleaning up their messes, and it is always the smile they give at the end that makes my time worth giving.  I have to face that fact: I enjoy helping people.  However I have a great passion for working with youth, something I have developed over the years by volunteering at various camps, helping out at youth group functions, and spending my summers as a camp counselor.  As I “mature” (as if the inner child in me would actually allow me to do so), I find the appeal of teaching to have grown.  Therefore I would consider any work (or any job) I currently hold or made hold until I can obtain the proper licensure and position to become a teacher as temporary at best.  This mindset would give my dad, a CPA and business professor at the local university, fits because he is a firm believer of the stewardship philosophy. Let me explain…

Stewardship, in the Christian sense, makes everything pointless and at the same time irrevocably precious.  Nodding back to Exodus 20:9-11, I acknowledge God created us to be creators, to labor within his creation. In terminology consistent with this paragraph, God has made us stewards of his creation so we can further create.  Therefore what is a steward?  Webster defines a steward as : “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.”  We are made in God’s image and are to manage God’s creation, using the talents and rights He granted us to accomplish His Will and glorify his name.  It is for this reason Johann Sebastian Bach signed all of his works S.D.G., shorthand for Soli Deo Gloria, to signify it was not for personal fame he composed but for the ultimate glorification of the one who has created all things good.  If we labor with the same mindset as Bach, why do we complain at work or gripe about our jobs?  Because we have lost sight of the things that truly matter.  As Christians we should be the employees everyone wants to hire and the bosses everyone wants to work for…

Another thing I took in tonight were seven simple economic principles that should help shape our mindset toward our endeavors in the workplace and the handling of the goods we come to possess. They are:

  1. All things belong to God.
  2. God has appointed man as his “creative steward” with ownership rights within His creation.
  3. Stealing (or coveting) another’s goods is wrong.
  4. Skills and the ability to work comes from God.
  5. Work is profitable, good, and to be pursued; laziness is not.
  6. Love God and not your goods.
  7. Be compassionate and generous with your goods to those in need.

A brief summary is as such: what you have is not your own, and should be treated as such, and that which others have is not something you should lust after or try to obtain, whether it be material or immaterial.  Now with that said I feel a couple important issues need to be addressed.  First, the notion of work.  Some people use the phrase “real jobs” to differentiate between what they get paid for and what they enjoy doing.  Work is not something to be classified as “real” or “fake”, to say that getting paid by the hour makes me less of a person than someone with a salary makes me sick.  Get off your philosophical high horse and find a way to boost your fellow man with your efforts, not discover new ways to trample theirs underfoot (or hoof).  Work is that which we do to further God’s kingdom, whether or not we receive compensation.  I firmly believe that if we strive to glorify God with our labor, He will be pleased with our efforts and send us the means to continue our endeavors.  Second, being compassionate with our excess does not mean just handing out meals or volunteering at the local shelter once a month, it means finding ways to help those in need provide for themselves. The Indian proverb has never rung truer “give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”  One of the problems in our society is that we are too easily content with simply handing out food to the poor so they will stop complaining that we ignore the possibilities that would allow them to feed themselves.  I’m not saying the welfare system is evil, I just feel it is too easily abused and taken advantage of.  Similarly Social Security is not quite the answer we need when time comes to retire (what is retirement anyway?) because it forces those who work to pay for those who no longer will.

Now back to my original dilemma, where am I headed with my life, now approaching my 24th year of living.  If I had to picture the perfect future 5 years from now, I’d envision myself with a job I love completely, a wife I love more than myself, and a child, maybe two, whom I’d lay my life down for, and a home I can call my own.  Now I’d admit this is rather ambitious, considering I currently work retail (which I enjoy but don’t love per say), am single (what to do lol), and barely have enough money to my name to make payments on student loans (ie- poor).  Needless to say I would need to change my circumstances some, and to that end I push.  I find relocation to be the top of my list of things to accomplish, as my parents have become increasingly hostile to my presence in their home (ie- I’ve overstayed my welcome), and I have better opportunities (and social habits) when living with friends away from my family.  Should that occur I would not only increase my joy of living (or at least I would hope this is an effect of doing so) and be able to spend more time with those I enjoy being around and desire to do so, but also grow as an independent individual.  Then comes an obstacle to this plan, employment.  To make a relocation completely realistic I would need to find solid employment in the area I wish to move to, therefore a job search ensues, with many leads but currently without fruit.  Now I’m a very one-track kind of person, I see an opportunity and hone in on it.  This often causes me to neglect other possibilities to a fault.  Part of me just wants to get away from where I am while another part sees how much trouble it would be to enable myself to do so and therefore refuses to go through with it.  So again I find myself at an impasse of where I am and where I what to be.

Yet I am becoming even more so determined to pursue life with a single mindset, glorifying God by being the best steward of that which He has given me as humanly possible.  Whether I do find that job I’ve always want or the woman I know I’d spend the rest of my life with, I choose to continue to sign off each night with three simple letters…

To my friends and family who always support me even when I prove myself to be unlovable, thank you. To those who don’t know me, my life is lived for the one who made me and for his purpose.

S.D.G.

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1 Comment

Filed under Musings of a Meek Maniac

One response to “A Mental Endeavor in (and of) Labor

  1. wilma

    Keep moving forward, yet live in the present. “Give us our daily bread” His grace is sufficient for you… In your times of weakness and doubt. In loneliness. In dreams. His love pours over you, even though you (I) don’t deserve it. Praying you dream dreams of a different size, that you find rest and peace, freedom from your past. As a child of the king you are no longer bound. Walk confidently.

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