I have been thinking a lot about "jobs" lately. What does your job mean to you? It seems to me that jobs, in the view of the jobholder, usually represent one of three things:
1) A necessary evil -- a means to an end. Basically something you have to do in order to exist.
2) A penance. You're "stuck" in a particular job because of past choices or perhaps because of family or friend relationships. You would feel like you're letting others down if you're not there.
3) An opportunity to serve others. For someone of faith, this could be extended to be "an opportunity to serve others ultimately for the glory of God."
Oddly enough, I am not sure I have ever held a job where my mindset was #1 above. For me, working in a job that meant nothing more than a paycheck would be hugely depressing. I suspect that a lot of people feel that way though.
Now, I will say that there are times (sometimes more frequently than others) when I have looked at my job as a penance. Working in a family-owned business where, even though it may sound egotistical, you really don't know what would happen to others in your family if you weren't there basically comes down to viewing your job as a penance -- almost a curse. My mind goes there on occasion -- I confess.
But, where I really want to live is in #3. I am hugely blessed in my job to have opportunities to serve others. And I enjoy that. I enjoy making others happy. I enjoy meeting their needs. I do have some challenge in always reminding myself of the joy of servanthood but probably my biggest challenge in #3 is in making sure that I am motivated by doing things for the glory of God and not for the glory of Todd. That is critical and not always easy for someone who is steeped in the ugliness of human pride.
I was watching a tiny little bug crawl around the other day. I will confess -- it was in one of our bathrooms at home. No, our house isn't bug-infested but it does have at least one little bug in it. This little guy looked a bit like a silverfish bug but he had a big red head. I had never seen anything like it before. I watched him crawl around, going to and fro. I couldn't see a lot of point to what he was doing.
I thought about how that little bug is driven pretty much just by instinct. He was looking around for one of two things -- food ... or a cute little red-headed female bug to hang out with. It seemed sort of sad to me but that was his reality.
Our lives are like that, too. When we live lives driven only by instinct, it is rather sad. Not that there aren't good things and needs that are meant by instinct but those are fleeting satisfactions.
When, though, our lives are led by something greater -- a desire to serve and to glorify God -- minds and hearts are changed ... and we begin to live real meaning into our lives and our very existence.