DURING times of layoffs and job shortages many people find it necessary to take temporary or part-time jobs. Often they end up feeling burdened by career frustration and uncertainty.
This certainly isn't a new problem, and Christ Jesus' words, recorded in Matthew's Gospel, can bring us needed comfort and encouragement. Jesus urged: ``Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We can claim our spiritual freedom and true worth as children of God, not bond-servants to false human systems. The worker is worthy of his wages, and working for God ensures that we will have the right job and be rewarded appropriately for our labor.
I've learned what it means to work for God. Throughout my years of employment, I've had numerous temporary jobs while I was looking for the permanent spot I thought would bring me satisfaction and financial security. I would work for a day, a week, or longer, with anxiety as my constant companion. A friend once described it as being ``like a duck swimming proudly along while paddling like the dickens underneath.
My goal was to give my best service with every assignment, praying always to serve God to the best of my ability. Once I had a week's assignment replacing a secretary who had resigned suddenly. The executive in charge was a company sales representative who came in only to receive messages and dictate correspondence. Answering telephone calls, opening mail, handling whatever came up--this was my basic format. After the second day, I felt I knew why the secretary had quit. I'd sit there with little or noth ing to do until the pigeons flew up to roost on the window ledge around 5 o'clock; then I'd lock up and head home.
I kept praying, ``Father, help me to do Your work here. Show me Your reason why I'm here! Soon some ideas came. The office was small and cluttered. My first project was straightening out the mess in the supply cabinet. Tossing out surplus cartons and empty file boxes and reorganizing the remaining items solved the clutter problem. When my boss was in briefly, his eyebrows lifted appreciatively.
Still praying to do God's work, I realized that this was a perfect situation for a student working toward a degree who needed both a job and a quiet place to study. I inquired at several placement offices at local universities. One placement secretary recommended a young man, a law student, a fast typist, who was taking night courses nearby and needed a daytime job. It all fitted! I suggested this to the boss. He took the phone numbers, convinced that this would solve the problem he had been having keepi ng a secretary. I was grateful the Father had sent me there that week. Those God-directed efforts had changed the whole picture, and I didn't leave the place as I'd found it. This experience showed me again how working for God can be an adventure!
Later I relocated to another city, thinking I'd found my dream job at last! Instead, I found myself in another job crisis, and I was very tempted to feel discouraged. I asked a friend, who was also a Christian Scientist, to pray for me. He recommended that I study a verse from Isaiah in the Bible that he felt was the best job description he'd ever seen. It reads, ``Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. So this became my spiritual job-training program--to understand God better, to be a better witness for Him, trusting His right purpose.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Pride and fear are unfit to bear the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands. I could see that some false traits like pride and fear had to be dropped if I truly wanted to serve God. I also found that I needed to overcome my reluctance to learn new things and an equal reluctance to do the same things over and over! I signed up for temporary work again. And some
new, more creative sources of income opened up as well.
I learned that just performing physical tasks in a physical office isn't all there is to my work. Working for God includes upholding a standard of excellence, of divine order and progress. It includes expressing qualities like intelligence, vitality, joy. Obedience to God's will became my primary mission. And each day I strive to express Him, no matter what the task is that is set before me.
We can always feel secure, working for God. It's full-time and it's permanent! BIBLE VERSE: My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:58