Normally I, as the editor, do not put for anecdotal situations or speak of personal experiences in my articles but something revealing happened yesterday that I think has theological ramifications throughout society that most Bible-believing Christians should really consider.
Do you love or hate your Job? Yesterday I was in a deli waiting to pick up an order for take-out. It was a small cramp deli, minimally staffed and locally owned. It was apparent that most of the customers were familiar with this location and the staff that occupied it. In front of me was a middle aged woman having a friendly conversation with the cashier. As it is not custom for me to ease-drop on the conversations of others, space and volume control could prevent no one from hearing what was being said.
The two were engage in a short and friendly back-and-forth where the cashier was inquiring about the job that the customer had. This appeared to be a new job that she acquired recently and the cashier was nicely asking about how she was making out in her new surroundings. Her answer was heart-warming and enthusiastic: “I love it” she bellowed, “it really isn’t a job at all. I don’t have a job, I love what I do so it doesn’t seem like a job at to me. I could not be happier. I love going to work!” WOW, I thought, I could not remember the last time I heard someone I know, let alone a complete stranger, react with such lover, joy, and gratitude toward the means by which they make a living.
In retrospect I wish I had stopped the woman, encouraged her, and shared with her how amazed I was with her testimony. It made me ponder on the issue of self-care and the problem that it brings to most jobs. Do people hate their jobs because intrinsically they hate themselves? This is difficult to answer. The Bible is clear that work, toil, suffering etc. is a by-product of the fall (Gensis 3) and that everything we do from then on, whether in work or in play, we do for the glory of God: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Co 10:31).
In one previous ministry setting I had addressed a similar situation. I worked as a volunteer minister at a large not-for-profit wellness center and I was appalled at how many people who worked there hated the company and their position within the company. Due to the nature of the business, they were not high paying jobs, not did they have much clout or benefit within the community. Like most non-profit jobs, they are for the community and not for the pay. Non-the-less so many employees were bitter with bad attitudes and complained all the time. I proved the following information in an email to the entire staff entitled Self-Care:
Self-care can be defined as a commitment to your optimal health and well-being for your own sake, for those who love and care about you, and in the service of God’s kingdom.
I want to take the opportunity and propose that the importance of self-care is often overlooked in ministry settings. Leadership and staff are too habitually set-aside in non-profits and ministry organizations. “How we imagine leadership, for example, is influenced by corporate understandings of leadership.” But ministry settings and non-profit organizations are not guided and spearheaded by the same principals and structures as the private sector. This leads to a lack of self-care on behalf of the employee which inescapably gets passed onto the clientele.
Q: What is self-care?
A: “Never promoting self-involved behavior or narcissism, self-care is one way to love yourself so that you can love your neighbor.”
It is making sure that the person in charge of other people is making sure that he/she is able to fulfill these duties with joy, integrity, and efficacy. This can only be attained through diligent adherence to feeding the mind, healthy physical acumen, and spiritual wellness.
To be able to properly perform the duties of the job (or mission), the mind, body, and spirit has to be able to appropriately function at a rate commiserate to the expectations of the outcome. This means that mediocre self-care produces mediocre productivity or customer service. If leadership is neglecting the self, then sub-par leadership will it produce.
I would like to take this time and ask you, and your staff, three questions:
- Are you taking care of yourself completely in order to properly service membership with joy?
- Are you supported by fellow staff and leadership within the organization?
- Do you like your job?
If you answered YES to all three of these questions you are most likely doing well to take care for yourself and that is what is truly important in vocation. If you answered NO to any of these three questions, I encourage you to contact me for further support. Let me help you to a better holistic approach to our vocational experience.
If you, or anyone within your sphere of influence, is in need of help, pastoral care, or simply someone to speak with, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or call.
Thank you and may the Lord bless and keep you,
I want to leave you with something to think about as you ponder on this. Unlike most of our other articles, this one is meant to leave you with questions, introspection, and hopefully repentance.
Postulate on these questions and then pray about it:
How do your co-workers perceive you? What would they say about you? What do you say about them?
Do you have a job or a career? Do you love your job? Do you hate your job? Why or why not?
Do you complain about your job daily, weekly, monthly, or incessantly? Does that edify God, the Church, or yourself?
Are you taking the necessary steps to take care of yourself so you can take care of the people involved in your specific vocation?
We are linking to a similar blog that addressed some of this during the pandemic that can be relevant to all situations.
For Every Man in his Work.
“ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who declares thy glory and shows forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou give us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us as one that serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
 Ibid, 101.
 Ibid, 102.