Most young adults aren’t working their dream jobs, and it commonly leads to a lingering restlessness. Few people grow up wanting to have a desk job or work in service, and most of us never considered the amount of monotonous tasks required in the daily routine in regular jobs.
When we search our hearts, we all want meaning and purpose that drives us to get out of bed every day. When we find our work lacking in fulfillment, it can become difficult to want to work, then we slowly develop resentment towards our work and live only for the weekends and vacations.
If you consider how much of our conscience adult lives are spent at work, it’s quickly apparent that there isn’t much left in this life outside of that. If we choose to spend our time at work zoned out on autopilot, then we risk letting a large portion of our life slip away.
For many that have a personal relationship with Jesus, it’s appealing to find a job that is working somehow in support of the Gospel. Although, usually we don’t obtain employment in hired ministry, nor is it the the work that God has planned for most of us.
We have endless opportunities to live our mission in between the weekends and vacation, and decades before we enter retirement. Life happens even throughout the unexciting daily work.
Here are a few reasons why your job matters and how you can live out your purpose through it.
Three Ways Your Work Has Value
1. Work Gives You Purpose and Accomplishment
Weather we are organizing mail, serving food, or pouring over PTS Reports, work gives purpose to our lives as we contribute to the world around us. If we are blessed with a long life, there will likely be a time when we are unable to physically or mentally do what we do today. As tiring as it can be, work is a blessing. Gratitude is an effective way of fighting dissatisfaction.
“Sanctifying one’s work is no fantastic dream, but the mission of every Christian — yours and mine.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá; Furrow #517
2. The Church needs people with a wide variety of skills
Work is an important part of our personal development. It’s where we learn competencies and expertise in very niche specialties. These are valuable in the workplace and in the work of the Church. Not ever parish may need your specific job skills, but there is likely a ministry or apostolate that could use your perspective and experience.
“Professional work, whatever it is, becomes a lamp to enlighten your colleagues and friends. That is why I usually tell those who become members of Opus Dei, and the same applies to all of you now listening to me: ‘What use is it telling me that so and so is a good son of mine — a good Christian — but a bad shoemaker?’ If he doesn’t try to learn his trade well, or doesn’t give his full attention to it, he won’t be able to sanctify it or offer it to Our Lord. The sanctification of ordinary work is, as it were, the hinge of true spirituality for people who, like us, have decided to come close to God while being at the same time fully involved in temporal affairs.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá; Friends of God, 61
3. Work is an opportunity of growth in virtue, discipline, and service
Even if your current job is not exactly where you want to be or even remotely related to your passion, our employment allows some opportunity to use some of our gifts and talents. Success in your career is not something that is automatically given out because you try hard. It takes hard work and dedication to know the meaning of your labor, even if it’s not always what we dreamed of doing.
In the process of growing in our career, we interact with countless clients, co-workers, fellow commuters, and bosses. Each encounter we have opportunities to be Christ to many that will never go near a church. Our mission doesn’t require proselytizing, but the relationships we build with these people provide a bridge of trust for intercession and support that only you can do.
“You must be careful: don’t let your professional success or failure — which will certainly come — make you forget, even for a moment, what the true aim of your work is: the glory of God!”
St. Josemaría Escrivá; The Forge, 704
Novena for Work
If you’re struggling with your job, looking for employment, or needing motivation to be a better worker, I highly recommend the Novena for Work written by St. Josemaria Escriba. Trust in the providence of the Lord, and be confident that He will provide.