What we can learn through jobs that just pay the bills
Written by Mikayla Nembhard
Whenever I hear the word “purpose,” it just sounds as if a royal king in court has chosen me from the crowd to go on a quest to retrieve the holy grail to save a kingdom. Heed this warning, there is danger afoot, and a 70-foot dragon guards the bridge!
Yeah, okay, you can tell I’ve gone off the deep end there, but you know what I mean, right? The word purpose is such a great word that holds a lot of power. Which is why I believe Christian purpose is heavily centred around God.
We are all a part of something greater than ourselves; we must remember to remove those tunnel-vision glasses and take a step back to see how we are all connected to God’s story. We have a purpose, whether we know what it is or not.
Sometimes, God gives us a vision or vocation that suggests what His purpose might be for us. Other times, we don’t have that vision, only a jumble of events and circumstances we don’t know how to arrange in a coherent line. Either way, our day-to-day jobs don’t always align with our ideas of purpose.
If you do find a job that relates to your purpose, count it as a huge blessing! Ask God to continue guiding you on your journey. But maybe your job seems to simply be getting in the way. If you can’t quite put your purpose into action due to your day-to-day job, it’s alright. Trust me, I’m right there with you.
As young people, we tend to take on jobs as a necessity to pay for school, transportation, bills, or to put food in the fridge. Working for these reasons is commendable; we don’t need to be ashamed or frustrated about it. If the job we have doesn’t explicitly connect with our purpose, that doesn’t mean we can’t find purpose within it.
I believe God puts us in certain positions or jobs for a reason. We may not always know the reason right away, but He will reveal it in due time, one small piece at a time. Every time I get a new job, I ask God three questions. First, will this job teach me a lesson that could equip me for the future? Second, is there someone I am supposed to meet? Thirdly, am I in this position to maintain a servant’s heart?
God could be equipping us for our purpose while we’re at work, even without us knowing. Or, He may have already revealed a glimpse of what His purposes are, but He hasn’t yet given us the next step. We still have more growing to do and lessons to learn first. God is moulding us as we speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1 rings true, emphasizing this idea: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
When you feel like God isn’t listening or that He has forgotten you, trust me, He hasn’t. He is speaking to you and is always trying to teach you something, but you have to be willing to listen. It’s funny, doesn’t this remind you about the story of King David? David was a shepherd boy, anointed at a young age to be king. However, David didn’t become king until many years after he was called.
That’s because God knew when he was to take the throne. God had more lessons to teach David so he would have the wisdom and character to run the kingdom. If God made David king right after Samuel anointed him, he wouldn’t have been one of the fiercest kings to have ever lived. David wouldn’t have become the person we know him to be.
Do you think David ever doubted himself during those years, asking God when he would reach his purpose? Don’t you think David had thoughts like, “Maybe I’m never going to be king. Maybe shepherding is all God has for me?”
Of course, he did! Want to know how I know? Because David was human. We all have these doubts, but I don’t want you to worry and think God has forgotten you. He hasn’t, and He loves you so much.
Our doubts and questions can cripple us and bend our perception of reality. But if we continue to follow and obey God and let Him refine us, He will begin to reveal the purposes He has for our lives.
I mentioned that we can find purpose within our job by asking God if we’re there to connect with someone. Sometimes the people we meet at work could be there to help guide us or challenge us. These guides act as God’s second hand to help change us. They’re the ones who want to see us do well and the ones who aren’t shy when giving constructive criticism.
Such people can leave a lasting impact on us, whether big or small, to help us with the next steps to take. Sometimes, these people look like challenging coworkers who seem to constantly compete with us for everything or seem too critical, rather than constructive, with their criticism. These people remind us to depend on God and ask for wisdom, peace of mind, patience, trust, and faith, so we remain steadfast in the Lord. These are all great disciplines that keep us rooted and relying on God.
Other times, these people can point us back to the love of God. These are the people at our work who regularly display God’s love through their kindness—such as being a listening ear when we’re down or lending a helping hand when we’re overwhelmed with work assignments. They could even be the ones God prompts to help open doors for us in the future.
Finally, there are times when finding purpose within a job means simply being a servant. It can be hard to keep a posture of servanthood when we’re trying to just move on from a position to pursue our passion or when we don’t fancy our boss or co-workers. To be a servant is to be humble.
We are to be humble before God and serve His people even when they aren’t as lovely as they should be. We are to do our best at our work, even if we aren’t inspired or motivated by what we’re doing. When God sees that we have servants’ hearts, are willing to work, and have integrity while doing so, He will bless us for it. So, let’s remain in a servant’s posture and serve people well, since they too are children of God. Doing so will put a smile on Jesus’ face.
To sum it all up, we don’t need to be discouraged when we look at our job and are unable to see how it connects with the purpose we’re called on this earth to do. God has an excellent plan for us, but we must be willing to listen and wait patiently for Him to do a mighty good thing in our lives. Lastly, there’s no need to rush life; we have so much more ahead of us, and God is with us every step of the way. We can ask God to help us keep waiting on purpose.
Mikayla Nembhard is a recent York University graduate with a B.A in bilingual honours communications, a television producer and editor of “On The Path” as seen on Yes TV Canada. She is also the co-host of “The Brave Girls Podcast” for Brave Global, a Charity designed to empower and uplift young women and girls everywhere.