To someone who has just been laid off, perhaps from a long-held job, the idea of continuous employment may seem like a distant dream. Maybe a job has felt so secure for many years, and the future now looks quite uncertain - especially if a person is beyond the age considered readily employable.
Yet we can look at employment from a spiritual perspective. And this can have a helpful impact on our ability to find meaningful and reliable work.
When my career was starting to develop, I had a temporary job for four months. It was supposed to fill in between two other important activities, and I needed it to continue for the whole of that time.
Because of the temporary nature of my stay at that company, I tended to be the odd job man, completing many small tasks the partners in the firm had been unable to get to. Some of these lasted several days. Others were finished in a day. Often when I went home at night, I did not know if there'd be work for me the following day. But a job was always waiting.
Before I left for the office each morning, I'd spend time reading the Bible and a companion volume to the Bible, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy. One week my reading included this passage from Isaiah: "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him" (40:10). The statement fairly jumped out at me. If this is true of God, I reasoned, then it has to be true of me, because I am His spiritual reflection. If God's work is always "before Him" and is coincidental with His "reward," then my work must be always before me and must include the reward - right at hand.
I'd had no indication that my job was in danger. But I found myself cherishing this spiritual fact about continuous employment every day as I rode the subway to the office and back. And every day there was work awaiting me.
Two weeks later, the business manager of the firm told me it was quite remarkable that I was still there - because two weeks before, work in the office had reached such a low ebb that they were on the verge of letting someone go. I'd have been first because of the temporary nature of my employment. However, so many new jobs had come in over that period that now they were contemplating taking on extra staff.
Then I knew why that verse from Isaiah had spoken to me so loudly. It was like a message coming from God at the moment of need - even when I was not aware of the need. And I feel sure that the prayers that helped me also helped the whole firm, because God's law, which I was acknowledging in prayer, operates universally and impartially.
Throughout the remaining period in which I needed this job, there was always useful work available for me. Every day. I'm grateful for being shown that example of how gaining a concept of the spiritual facts relative to work can actually help in preserving the continuity of our employment.
I've often felt that the Bible defines the very highest job description for everyone in this verse: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen" (Isa. 43:10). Just imagine the privilege of being chosen as God's own servant - employed to see Him, to see good, in our lives.
This is continuing employment of the most rewarding kind. At any moment of any day, you can ask yourself, How aware am I that God is Love and that He's showing Himself in qualities like universal, all-inclusive compassion and caring? How aware am I that God is Life, and that He's expressing Himself in aliveness, vitality, activity, joy? How well am I seeing God as Truth and expressing Him with stability, uprightness, truthfulness, justice, consistency?
Truth, Life, and Love are all biblical names for God. And we can also check the status of how we're bearing witness to other inspired descriptions of His nature like Spirit, Principle, Mind, Soul, and Father-Mother.
We develop useful qualities through such daily contemplation of who God is and what our purpose is as His witnesses. This fundamental work of expressing God makes us highly employable in the job market and attractive to perceptive, prospective employers.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society