All kinds of pithy quotes seek to inspire the workforce. We’re told that we’re supposed to love our work.
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Confucius
“If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” ~ Jack Canfield
I call bull.
In our staff meeting at church this week, Darrell Cook spoke to us about balancing family and ministry. In discussion, we unpacked the phrase: “Love your family and do your job, not vice versa.” We talked about how power statements like that don’t have to be “either-or.”
We must love our families. AND it’s wonderful when you love your job as well. But job-loving must not replace family-loving. In addition, for a LOT of people, the idea of loving your job is simply a fantasy – a job is simply a means to provide. When those of us who love our vocations post incessantly about #lovemywork, it paints an unrealistic (and even unbiblical) picture of work.
Work will be.. well, work some days. For all of us. In Genesis 3:17-19, we discover that as part of the brokenness of our sin, our work becomes toilsome and unpleasant. Other days, we can love our work – the productivity, the joy of a job well done, helping others, etc.
But what do you do if you don’t enjoy or love your actual job? Do you quit to go in search of that perfect job that will bring personal fulfillment and allow you to whistle while you work? That’s not realistic or wise for most.
It’s not a job adjustment you need, but a perspective shift:
It’s how you work, not what you work at.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
- Make sure you’re loving your family more than you love your job. They are first priority. But it’s ok and wonderful when you love your job.
- If you don’t love your job, use your work as an opportunity to work for the Lord. Do it with excellence and thanksgiving as an offering to God. Love and pray for the people you work with. Give your work your full attention.
Perhaps the best practical quote to remember is:
“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” [Source]