A Real Job?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Not long ago I visited a college. I noticed a flier on a wall that read, "Come to a workshop that will teach you how to get a real job."
A real job. Just exactly what is that? Would you define it as something that brings in a certain income? Supports a certain lifestyle? You might even ask yourself if your concept of a real job is defined by friends and family.
I've noticed that when some people find a job they're happy in and successful at, their description of the job changes from one of mere status to genuine service. To me, this is because a real job does not consist of titles, salaries, and ranks, but instead of ideas in action.
This may seem a bit startling at first. But think about it. No matter what we do for a living, we're implementing good ideas. If we're construction workers, we're implementing ideas put forth by the architect or the builder. And we're often using ideas that have come to us for the actual step-by-step process. If we're lawyers, we're looking for ideas to help support the client's case. The work may involve interpreting laws or precedents or a new combination of laws and precedents.
Ideas are actually the building blocks of a job, whether they're big or small. To be more useful, we need better ones. And shouldn't being useful be the real goal? When we're working, we're basically giving to others - sharing ideas with them. These become the concrete solutions to everyday problems.
We can't purchase good service to others, or the ability to solve problems. But we can cultivate the resourcefulness we need by drawing closer to God to learn of His spiritual ideas, and expressing spiritual qualities like integrity and excellence. This is important. God imparts spiritual ideas and enables you to discern them. Any particular idea your work calls for is yours through your God-given spiritual intelligence.
Christ Jesus told his disciples long ago, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). That could be your position, too - that is, to be among others as someone whose service is built on spiritual ideas that come from God. To have the motive of expressing God's nature in order to give, not just to get.
So, what do you do if you feel lacking in ideas, or stuck, or unsure what to do? You can turn to God for answers.
Here's an example. During the summers when I was in college, I worked as a "gofer" at an auto agency. I did everything from cashier work to parts inventory to giving people rides back to their jobs or residences. One day I was sent on a trip out of town to jump-start an old van. Frankly, I didn't quite know how. But I figured that the owner did, and that he just needed the cables.
Well, I was wrong! He didn't know any more than I did. And there I was, an hour out of town, wanting badly to help the owner but not really knowing where to begin. So I prayed. I prayed to know what to do and in what order. In short, I prayed for inspiration from God, each time stopping for a little while and listening. It wasn't long before the van was up and running.
Later I realized how good the guidance had been. When the mechanics back at the shop looked at that engine, they were amazed I was still alive! They explained that that particular engine had been marked incorrectly; if I had reversed the cables, it would have blown up.
When I'm thinking about "real jobs," I often remember this experience. It reminds me about serving others with right ideas found through prayer. When we obediently implement them, everyone is blessed. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this paper, wrote: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" ("Miscellaneous Writings," Pg. 307).
No one is barred from the business of implementing good ideas. This is always a person's real job. And God, the source of all good, inspires us to have them through hearing Him. So what we need to know is never something we have to conjure up ourselves. It's always God-given, every moment.