Sunday, June 12, 2011

Job Searching II: Jeremiah Strikes Back

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord,
Plans for your welfare, not for woe!
Plans to give you a future full of hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

I hate my job. I started this job two years, eight months and four days ago. There was a training period of eight weeks, and then I started actually doing the job. And I hated it from that moment.

Now I don't want this to sound like any kind of complaint against the company I work for. (Particularly to any of the readers who might know where I work) The truth is that the company I work for takes very good care of its employees. I get paid well compared to people doing my job at other companies. My benefits are great too. As a matter of fact, when my last daughter was born, I was given two weeks PAID Paternity leave. Can you imagine that in this economy? When employers know that they could really put the screws to employees, I got two weeks off, PAID, because my wife had a baby.

No, my company is a great company to work for. The problem is, this job just is not for me. I am definitely a round peg in the square cubicle of corporate America. So I have prayed for a long time, for the Lord to guide me to a new job. “What do You want me to do?”, I ask Him over and over,hoping that I will hear the call to some great purpose.

A while ago, however, I thought of a quote from Blessed Mother Teresa:

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

You see, I have always felt (naively, I must admit) that God was going to reveal this amazing earth-shattering purpose for my life at some time, and that I would do something that would change millions of lives and make me a historical figure. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I did feel frustration that God would not reveal to me how I could help people and make a real difference. I mean, after all, I just wanted to do it for Him. Of course, with the side benefit of getting out of my 'round peg in a cubicle' job. But that quote very clearly points something out. We are not all called to be Blessed Pope John Paul II. Not everyone is called to be St. Thomas Aquinas, or Blessed Mother Teresa.

There are plenty of ways that we can encounter and serve Christ in our everyday lives. Think of the 'supporting cast' and 'extras' in the bible.

When the servers at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-12) were putting on their aprons, they had no idea that they would deliver the jars of water that Jesus would turn into wine, the first miracle, starting His public ministry.

When they boy came to hear Jesus speak and brought a few loaves and fish, he had no idea that his lunch would end up feeding thousands. (John 6:1-15)

The Samaritan woman at the well didn't want to face the leering eyes and whisperings of her neighbors with regard to her personal life. “Oh, she's 'shacking up' with another one this week...” But she needed water, so she went when she knew it would be deserted. And there was a stranger who saw right through her and revealed himself as the Savior, the Living Water. She then told others and brought them to Jesus, all out of a chance meeting in her daily chores. (John 4:4-42)

Some of the disciples were even called to help Jesus while in the course of their daily work. Simon (Peter), Andrew, John and James were mending their fishing nets when they met Jesus and he called them to be 'fishers of men'. Matthew was a tax collector, sitting at his customs post.

Even at the end of Jesus' life there are similar examples. Simon the Cyrenian was visiting Jerusalem when he was pressed into service to help Jesus walk to His crucifixion. And when Joseph of Arimathea had a tomb dug out of the rock for his use (a great expense, as the gospels mention, he was a rich man) could he have possibly known that the place he would offer to lay Jesus' body, would be the site where the resurrection would take place?

All of these people were simply going about their daily lives and are now 'supporting actors' and 'extras' in the narrative of our salvation. Would there have been other servers if the staff at the Cana wedding 'called in sick'? If Simon the Cyrenian were not walking by, would someone else have been pressed into service to help our Lord walk to the sacrifice He made for us? Who would have led those Samaritans to Christ if not for the woman at the well?

As for me, would some other customer service representative take a moment after helping a customer in a bad position, or having health problems to say a silent prayer for them? Maybe they would, and maybe others do.

But the servers at Cana did go to work that day, Simon was in town when they needed someone to help Jesus carry his cross, the Samaritan woman, regardless of why, was the only one who came to the well at that moment. And for now, I am the one answering the phone call.

God doesn't wait for us to decide to take on the world and then reveal to us His grand scheme to use us as public figures to influence millions. He comes to us as we are and where we are and asks us to do small things, with great love for all the people we come in contact with.God's word doesn't tell us all where to go to do His work, God's word tells us how to do His work where we are.

So does this mean I don't try to look for another job? Well, the way I see it, if you're a round peg in a square cubicle, you should probably still keep your eyes open for a better fit. But in the mean time, do what you can and try not to beat yourself up because you aren't a square peg. I am writing this hoping that I can truly internalize that message.... I am writing this hoping that I can truly internalize that message.... I am writing this get the point. As I said, I realized this a while ago and I am still struggling with it.

But the most important thing I've learned while thinking about this over the past couple of weeks, is only going to take a few sentences. I was thinking that I wish God would pick a new job for me. I need it! I want it! And (perhaps most arrogantly) He could put me to such better use!

Then something happened at work. And I paused for a second, and thought........'You colossal goober-head!'

One of my colleagues and his wife are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child. Hopefully, the baby should already be here by the time you're reading this. Pause, say a prayer for a healthy delivery for baby and mama........thanks.

So before he left work, I told him, “Look, I'm just going to warn you. In a few days, you'll be packing your new daughter into that brand new car seat and thinking, 'Isn't there some kind of force field I can put around my car for the ride home?' And as you drive away, you'll be thinking, 'Why on earth am I driving AWAY from the medical professionals?!?!?!'”

“But,” I assured him,” It will be okay.”

Then I was quiet for a moment, smiled, and said, (as I say to every expectant dad I talk to),”It's the best freakin' job in the world!”

You see, the job I don't like, is the job that MY decisions led to. The 'colossal goober-head' part came in when I thought of my wife and our two daughters.

It finally seeped through my thick skull. That is the job that God picked for me. Husband. Father. That was the earth-shattering purpose right under my nose as I was seeking it everywhere else. God has picked a job for me.

And yes, even when it's difficult, it's the best freakin' job in the world.

God bless,

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