The best I could do was a Sharpie marker.
It wasn’t shoe polish, but it would get the job done. Besides, you could really only tell the difference when the sun shone down on them directly. My other shoes had had the soles re-glued a handful of times and they still kept falling apart. The separating backs made an obnoxious clapping sound as I walked and would introduce me anywhere I went. So, old as they were, these shoes and their sharpie-spotted polish would have to do for the time being.
Perfect or not, I had places to go.
For a kid of thirteen, this felt like a lot of resolve. My circumstances were not going to dictate my actions, even if I had been raised in a barn. I was going to control the situation as best I could. The personal pride was genuine too—it was as if my ability to mend my shoes translated into the power to keep life knitted up, as well.
Our work lives can feel like that. Work is forward momentum in the face of uncertainty.
We step boldly into our work, even if the work itself is not exactly what we’d like it to be.
We can imagine a better future, sure.
We might even believe God himself has a better idea in mind.
But how do we find it?
Maybe it’s best just to keep walking forward, hoping things will get better.
After all, a little bit of spit-shine will go a long way to polish your outlook.
Yes, work is a part of life.
But there’s a secret to work that most Christian men haven’t discovered.
Paul knew this secret. Elijah and David too. But most men never find it. Many can identify the itch, but they simply can’t scratch it.
The itch troubles you like a gentle prod, a niggling little thought that the work you do during the day isn’t everything it’s meant to be. You feel as if you’re missing something when you clock in and clock out. Your work doesn’t get the job done spiritually, you could say. Nor is it very fulfilling.
That’s the itch, and it can lead to a great discovery. But it’s also really easy to dismiss, even if it’s right.
So, men continue to endure the daily grind, missing out on the faith and secret strength that could overflow in their work. This results in a whole generation of Christian men who work hard but don’t know why. Or, worse, who never learn the real work they are called to do.
Which is a tragedy.
There is so much at stake and so little time to stake a claim on a calling too.
There is hope, however, for the man who wants to know what God might give him to do with the few days he’s been given. So long as you haven’t stopped working, it’s never too late to find the purpose of your work.
Our ancient fathers of the faith had learned the secret of meaningful work. They knew what was required of them. They could see the purpose in their work a mile away. This faith gave them a life of biblical proportions. In part, because they knew how to focus their energy. They knew the work they were meant to do. This assurance gave them all the courage and foresight they needed during the day. It helped men like Moses, Daniel, and Joseph be diligent in everyday jobs and to participate in more eternal outcomes than the average Joe.
The secret can be yours, as well.
The principles of work they employed are available to you. My prayer, brother, is that you learn them, love them, and use them to partner with the Almighty in incredible new ways.
God hasn’t passed you by. He has a race for you to run—and that’s true even if you feel disconnected from the race. Neither is God upset with your circumstances. Just because you might feel hopeless now or unsure about the future, it does not mean that the Almighty doesn’t have a great work life for you.
He is for you, after all.
There is no end to God’s kingdom, no shortage of his strength. God has a massive treasury of power and goodness, and He draws freely from that supernatural bank account to support his sons and daughters. These riches are meant for more than Sunday mornings or a few mountaintop moments over the course of a lifetime. The goodness of God has practical, eight-to-five implications for every man who wants to know what it looks like to live in partnership with the Lord.
And no, you don’t need to become a pastor, worship leader, or minister to get access to this supernatural bank account. The agency of the Almighty extends to any man who wants the joy of gainful employment with the Lord.
There are no “collar colors” in Christ.
Only men who work with the Lord and those who don’t. The men who don’t can only wish for great stories.
The men who do actually have them.
Portions of this post are excerpts from the book Calling: Awaken to The Purpose of Your Work