You know how people say, “Hey, shut the door—were you raised in a barn?”
Well, I really was raised in a barn. (But I do shut the door after myself. Usually.)
I grew up in the East Texas “piney woods.” Literally in a barn.
The living situation was supposed to be only temporary, of course. We thought we’d live in the barn on the property until our family’s ship came in, and then our house would quickly be built. For seventeen years, we waited on Providence to provide, but that ship never did come in.
Houses, I learned, rarely build themselves.
That barn was completely exposed to the elements. The summers were sweltering, and it wasn’t uncommon for a snake to be found in a shaded corner of a room.
One summer, a hive of bees paused their migration and spent three days in the rafters.
Winters, conversely, were colder than your fridge.
A Thankless Job
One of my first jobs was mowing.
That always struck me as odd. At first, I thought that mowing the grass around the barn would keep the grasshoppers out of our living areas.
But it didn’t.
I mean, the barn was surrounded by knee-high grassy acreage, and cutting the grass didn’t keep the critters out. In fact, many of them would jump toward the barn to avoid the blade. But what else does one do with so much grass and time?
In those early years, as I worked our fifteen-acre yard, something surprising happened: a bond grew between me and the Lord. As I mowed, I worshiped and I listened. And God met me in my work.
A relationship grew out of a seemingly pointless task, and that made all the difference in what I was doing. It might be hard to believe about a young boy and yardwork, but I actually began to look forward to cutting paths in the wilderness. To spending that work time with God. It was an exodus for an East Texas boy.
Most Christian men who long for purpose in their work lives start by praying for Sunday to spill over into Monday. Our hope is that we’ll be able to splash a little sanctification from our time at church onto those around us at the workplace. For many men, this lasts only until things just need to get done. Then it’s back to business as usual. Whatever he got from Sunday morning is helpful all the way up until crunch time, when he may find himself trading in the pew for pragmatism.
Praise God that our work story doesn’t have to end there.
Here’s what’s possible for your work: you will be clay in the Holy Potter’s hand, you will know that everything you commit your hands to will result in his divine craftsmanship. You will come to the place where you’re not pushing yourself to go to work, but that the work itself will be propelling you. You will see that the vessel you want to be is exactly the vessel you are being molded into.
If that sounds good to you, the question you must ask yourself is: Am I engaged with what he’s molding me to be?
God has a work-life for you
Knowing the answer removes every condemning thought and doubtful question. Is this the right job? Did I make a wrong turn in life? Is there a reason so-and-so is more successful? A man given to the Lord will be used for a higher purpose, because he’s being made into his Maker’s desired image. You are uniquely made for the task at hand.
We have to understand that “work” is not a job—it is an attitude toward a job. Hopelessness comes when you confuse the two.
“work” is not a job—it is an attitude toward a job. Hopelessness comes when you confuse the two. Pierce Brantley
Calling: Awaken to The Purpose of Your Work
There are no dead-end jobs in Christ. You haven’t missed your calling.
We need to have our minds renewed by Christ until we can see this. When this renewal happens, we see meaning grow from the mundane. We find joy in a job description. Our calling isn’t the work itself but is the kingdom purpose in it. God has a specific assignment for you in whatever it is you do as your job—a mission within your work.
Portions of this post are excerpts from the book Calling: Awaken to The Purpose of Your Work