When I returned to work from a week's vacation, my boss sprung a surprise. While I was away, he told me, he'd hired someone to replace me.
What came to mind immediately was surprising as well. They were Christ's words to Pontius Pilate, when Pilate said he had the power to release Jesus or have him crucified: "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11).
It's interesting how the words of Jesus often have so many applications to daily living. Those words calmed and comforted me. They spoke of the fact that God, not other people, holds control over our lives. Always.
My boss went on to tell me about two new positions being established. He offered me a choice of them. One held no interest for me; the other had also been offered to a friend, who had some doubts about it but was considering it. We left it that I'd think about the positions and get back to my boss.
That evening I called a friend who I knew had great faith in God. "I don't even know what kind of job to look for," I told her.
"You will know, because God knows," she replied.
That made sense to me. I was used to turning to God for direction. Many were the times I'd felt His care and guidance. My friend also suggested that I make a list of the qualities I could offer an employer - good qualities, which come from God.
After I hung up, I started listing such things as intelligence, punctuality, neatness, cooperation, helpfulness, friendliness, honesty. I could certainly express these qualities. Before I got very far, I realized that the act of expressing those - and other - good qualities was in fact what made up my job. That I could never be unemployed, because I could never stop doing what I was made to do: express God.
I went to bed feeling peaceful. And I woke up with an answer. I realized that the job which didn't interest me was perfect for my friend, while the one she had doubts about suited me. In the end, that's how it proved. And I worked for that firm for another nine years.
Then I felt it was time to move on, though I did not know to what. So I took a week's vacation. This time, I stayed at home and prayed for direction.
I sought God's purpose for me. I wanted to be led to work that would bless others as well as me. I considered an observation made by the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy: "Good demands of man every hour, in which to work out the problem of being. Consecration to good does not lessen man's dependence on God, but heightens it" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pgs. 261-262).
So, with the same understanding that my real work was to express the qualities of God in my life, I again reasoned that I had to know what I should do because God knew, and I could hear God's direction.
As I continued to pray, a thought came to me: "Open a bookstore."
"Thank you, God. I'd love to."
With no previous experience as an entrepreneur, I knew it was imperative that I depend on God for help and guidance. Seeking and listening for this guidance was my prayer. And it was rewarded. For instance, I found attractive retail space that fit my budget. An acquaintance donated her late husband's library, which included many first editions. A kitten even appeared on my doorstep, which became the quintessential "shop cat."
During the years I owned the bookstore, there were always opportunities to seek God's care and direction. Later, when there were other job changes, I made them with the understanding that God is my ultimate boss. That my work is to express good qualities. That only God has power over my life.
See your job as - first and foremost - that of expressing God. This is the employment that's never subject to layoffs or downsizing. It's good, challenging, rewarding work that makes everyone useful.
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