Did Jesus Ever Find His Dream Job?

June 4, 2012

How many of you, right now, are working your “dream job?”

None of you.  Because right now, you’re reading this blog, probably on company time.

Aside from that, most of us, according to the stats, are not working our dream jobs.  We had to settle for something less, something that pays the bills.

Our jobs wear us out, frustrate us, but probably worst: they don’t feel that important.

You can deal with frustration if you feel like your job is important.  But no one can stand feeling like they are wasting their time or talents, or that their job has little meaning…or they are missing God’s plan for their life.

That’s what it’s all about, right?  God must have had something bigger, better, more spectacular planned for me than just this, right?

…Maybe not.  Maybe there’s a good reason God doesn’t have a better plan for your life.

God Wants Us All to Be Superstars?

Bloggers are an ambitious group of people.  I’m pretty sure nearly all of us fantasize about landing a huge book deal and becoming super famous and then quitting our day jobs and just blogging for a living.

But we aren’t the only ones.  Everyone’s hoping for a ticket to the big time.  We live in a world dominated by superstars, even in the church, and the rest of us are hoping just a little bit of Jesus fairy dust gets sprinkled on us.

It’s really easy to tell people that God has a crap-in-your-pants-amazing plan for your life, when you’ve hit it big and you are the center of a media empire.  The fact is, most of us don’t get that much fairy dust sprinkled on us, and the people making the sermons and speeches know it.  The message keeps getting recycled because it sells.  It’s like porn for ambitious Christians.

Mind Your Own Business

By contrast, the apostle Paul encouraged people to “live quiet lives and mind your own gat-dang business.” (my paraphrase)

Huh?

And he encouraged slaves to be content as slaves, and not worry about “wasting their lives.”

What the what?

I mean, how meaningful can being a slave be?  How can that really be God’s purpose for someone?  How can a slave have an impact for Jesus?

In an alternate universe, Jesus met Peter and like most men, asked him what he does for a living.  And when Peter answered, Jesus said, “A fisherman?  That’s a dumb job.  You should quit that and do something important.  Me?  I’m the Son of God.  You know, I’ve just known since I was a kid that I wanted to be the Savior of the world, so I followed my dreams.”

For all we know, Jesus wanted to be an artist, but just got stuck being a carpenter.

How can quiet living and keeping your nose out of other peoples’ business, and keeping your house in order really be all there is?  That’s kind of the exact opposite of telling people about some kind of grand adventure God wants to take you on, that results in you being rich and famous.

Work Sucks for a Reason

If your job sometimes feels like a curse, remember this:

It is.

Work was a part of original creation.  It was meaningful, creative, and pleasurable.  And, best of all, it wasn’t mandatory.  Then people screwed it up, and God basically said, “Get a job, deadbeats.”  Oh, and work is going to suck now.  There’s going to be thorns and obstacles in your way.  You’re going to get sweaty.

See, sometimes, looking for “God’s plan” is just our egos talking.  We think we’re so special and talented that we deserve a better lot in life.  We think that our job has too many thorns, or it’s not fruitful enough.

And sometimes, looking for God’s plan is just legalism.  We’re convinced that God needs us to be doing something more with our time.  We convince ourselves that God can’t get his job done while we’re stuck in this cubicle or driving that truck or doing any other such unimportant work.  And really, isn’t that our egos talking too?

God doesn’t care nearly as much about our jobs as we do.  Whether we feel important, or we feel like slaves to jobs we hate, God is not pissed that we’re wasting our lives.  He just wants you to do crap-in-your-pants-amazing work, no matter how big or small it is.

And if you do land that dream job someday, there will still be thorns.

Tell me about your job.  Do you love it, hate it?  Do you feel like a slave or are you the master of all you survey?

32 responses to Did Jesus Ever Find His Dream Job?

  1. dawn ellen miller June 4, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I was blessed to work my dream job for awhile. Yes, it still had thorns. No, I am not still doing it. Right now I am wondering what God will have me do next. I’m not just wasting time but sometimes the things I do to fill my time are doing much to get me to my nebulous goals.

  2. You could say I’m working my dream job, though some days it’s a nightmare. :) I work in a church op shop (thrift store) 3 days a week with lovely people – some who know the Lord, some don’t, some are there to work, some to socialise and some for healing. And I get to bless people by receiving their donations (whether they are up to standard or not), and listen to people’s stories, and maybe even pray with them. And show Jesus’ love. So it can be awesome some days, heartbreaking some days, and downright hard work (physically and emotionally) others. And sometimes all on the same day!

    But, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Even if there are days when I really don’t want to face anyone at all (hard when I’m in charge of people!). But I see the work God is doing in the lives of those who work there, and the regular customers, and it blesses me to know that we are a safe place for people to show a little of who they are and what is going on behind the masks. And I believe it blesses God too.

    I do look forward to my holidays and days off, though. :)

  3. I’m a secretary. This is so far from my dream job, I can’t even see the light from the sun of the solar system my dream job exists in. (I used to be a chemist, but I stayed home with my kid for 10 years and the tech field left me in its dust) However, I’ve turned this job into something I can endure and even get a bit of satisfaction from (I write my blog when I’m there) and, no, I don’t feel it’s important, but it carries the health and dental insurance for my family and I think that is pretty important. Being a secretary is a double edged sword. Sometimes I am the slave, but sometimes… yeah, the master. :)

  4. I now have what was my “dream job” in high school–at the time I had notions of “doing something important” and “helping people” and all that. I have to admit that I was also kind of a snotty punk and wanted to out-accomplish everyone back home in the sticks.

    Now that I actually have my “dream job”, I have days where I regret it. I often think that I would’ve been happier if I was doing something where I didn’t have to interact with people at all. I would so much rather churn out some widgets every day and not have to speak to anyone.

    I know no such job exists, and if I’m not overjoyed I’m at least satisfied with where I’m at. I think my purpose now is not so much to accomplish great things, but to take care of what’s in front of me to the best of my ability.

  5. This one gets me, because my dream job was teaching. I’m working towards returning to it in the future, but I need to get a Master’s first. In the meantime, I’m working at Walmart.

    I hear what you’re saying, but when most of my talk of meaningful work is centered in the past or the future, it can get a bit discouraging. Because,and I’ll throw this out there for discussion, can selling people junk they don’t need ever qualify as crap in your pants amazing work? And I’m not talking about character traits such as staying calm and showing kindness to irate coworkers and customers. I’m thinking about the work itself, selling crap no one needs and few can afford. Can that ever count for something? If so, how?

    • God is giving you an opportunity. God told Adam and Eve to subdue the earth, but God hid in in the earth all kinds of opportunities to better their work. It would be centuries before iron was discovered, then bronze. Every tech that we invented was an opportunity provided by God. Maybe think of Walmart as your iron tool, using it to better your work.

      In the meantime, I hear what you are saying. But a slave had no control over his master either. And Paul’s advice was that they do their job so well that people say “wow, his job sucks, and look how well he’s doing it!”

      • I hear you, and I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s advice to a new convert asking what he should do to serve God:

        “What do you do?”
        “I’m a shoemaker.”
        “Then sell decent shoes at affordable prices.”

        It’s frustrating when “decent” and “affordable” are out of my hands is pretty much what I was trying to say. The only way I can think of to better my work in that regard is to silently agree with customers’outrage and daydream about small business. But like you said, even when nothing can be done, Paul’s advice stands. It’s true, just not easy.

  6. a) As I learned just this past Saturday night at church, _work_ wasn’t the curse because God gave Adam a job when He put him in the garden (Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gen 2:15). Having to do it all from scratch instead of it just being there was the curse.

    2) Some would say I’m not in my dream job because I’m not an astronaut (yet) and that has been a dream of mine since I was a very small child. But it wasn’t my _only_ dream. Being a wife and mom was a dream and I’m living that one right now (yes, there are thorns…there’s a very stinky one waiting to be changed right now, as a matter of fact). I also wanted to be a “rocket scientist” and I’m living that one too. I get the best of all worlds too since I work mostly from home and really (usually) only miss a couple of nap times a week with my kids in order to go into the office where I do a job that I mostly enjoy doing. Plus I get to sing and play music at church, teach my kids about stuff, and do other things too. Getting to be an astronaut would be the decorations on a rich cake that’s already nicely iced.

    I think people need to be careful with this question. It’s very easy to turn it into “my life sucks, why doesn’t God love me?” Do I live my dream job? Yes and no, but regardless, my life is great (with some not-so-great parts too, but those are a part of life). And I think it’s great mostly because I choose to see it that way.

    • Youre right, work was part of the original good plan, but then that blessing became a part of the curse. That’s why we long for meaningful work, but much of the work we have to do does not live up to our desires.

  7. Perfect timing, Matt. I needed to hear this after yesterday’s sermon. The topic was heeding God’s call on your life, and the speaker went on and on about how we all have this calling, and we should know what it is and pursue it whole-heartedly. (As his text, he used Acts 5, where the apostles kept preaching the word even after the Jewish leaders threatened them and told them to stop.)

    I have ten years’ worth of journals filled with gut-wrenching prayers asking God what my calling is. He answered that He cares more about WHO I am, not WHAT I am.

    • Yes!
      There are not that many people in the Bible who were privy to knowing an EXACT calling for them. A calling came in the form of:

      A burning bush
      A talking donkey
      Blindness after seeing Jesus
      Being a pregnant virgin

      The rest of us…God’s not going to be so specific.

  8. I’m not in my dream job. Hardly. Part-time cleaning tables at fast food? Of course, my dream job requires a bachelor’s degree which I don’t have, although I am going to college for it. With the economy in its present situation, I’m not entirely confident that I’ll grab that job even with the degree.

    Instead, my two main passions – writing and computer programming (my dream job) – are mostly hobbies right now. I’d like to do something meaningful and income-generating with them, however.

    • Shawn – I am computer programmer making 6 figures and I don’t have a college degree in computer science. Find a trade school, get started and learn on your own. Lots of free stuff on the Internet. Most programming jobs say “BS in CS or equivalent experience.” You can do it.

      • It is good to make 6 figures (hope you tithe) but most programmers around the country do not make nearly that much unless they are older, living in a huge city where everybody makes a lot of money, have a lot of experience, and have some special additional skills. You are much rarer than you may realize. (If you tell me what company you work for, I know some programmers who would love to have that opportunity). Programming pays $25,000 to $40,000 in the midwest. But pay is not always the main reason to hold a dream job. It’s more about whether or not we enjoy the challenge and find meaning in it. Get the education. The government has generous grants for low income people.

  9. I don’t mind working a dead end job…as long as I’m in a place where God can use my talents, because I don’t want to bury those things

  10. Better sermon is rarely preached. As I was reading, I was thinking of the admonition to slaves, then you mentioned that. I was thinking of our work glorifying the self and inflating the ego as opposed to laboring for God’s glory, and you came to that. Why am I writing this; you have already done it!

    • It’s so easy to get it confused! A pastor and his church become super famous and they have lots of money to launch a media empire. Are they laboring humbly and God is blessing them, or is it just ego disguised as God?

      I think I know, more often than not.

  11. Great post! I’ve almost finished my masters degree and I finally know what my dream job is, but I’ve been sick for almost 2 months and I can’t do anything. My mom has been taking care of me- I hate the fact that I’m not independent any more. What good is that? Why would God want me to be stuck here?

    I guess for now I don’t have answers. I just hope I can get back to normal soon.

  12. The great thing about God is that He will make use of use no matter where we end up…”dream job”…or nightmare job.

    I do remember this one, “You wanna make God laugh?…then tell Him your plans.”

  13. I’ve had similar thoughts. But here is my tension:

    A kid growing up in asia who is part of generations of rice farmers. Does God want him to pursue his dream? Does God have a super special plan for his life? What about the starving family in Africa? Or even the family living in poverty in the States?

    I think that “dream jobs” are available to those who live with access to resources and upward mobility. The option has to be available.

    On the other hand, if God has given us the ability to choose our careers, how are we stewarding those resources? Are we being irresponsible if we are not living to our fullest capacity when the option to do so is on the table?

    I don’t really have answers for that.

    • This is an interesting point about a large percentage of the world never having a chance at their “dream job.” And on a related note, sometimes I wonder about the stereotypical “poor people in other countries” and whether they’re doing anything fulfilling and useful with their lives. I think it must be because I have a really really limited understanding about the world in general and what other cultures are like and how the majority of people live.

      Sometimes I think that poor people/ people with fewer opportunities aren’t contributing much to society and are therefore less valuable/important than me. I interpret this as a red flag that says I’m really misunderstanding what makes human life valuable.

  14. I had my dream job. I worked from home 4 days a week, made my own schedule, made good money and took time to travel. But like all things in ended after 6 years. I still miss it.

    I had a similar job not long ago, I worked from home 1 day a week (or when ever there was bad weather), made good money, it was creative and I liked the folks I worked with. I got great reviews.

    I got laid off. I had to take this job and I have been there 3 years. I take most of my vacation in mental health days. I still get great reviews for great work, by my heart isn’t in it.

    Hoping for something else.

  15. I am pretty much doing my dream job, as an “independent” artist and leatherworker. I put independent in quotes because I could not feed, clothe, or house myself doing this… yet… and I am fortunate that my husband has a stable well-paying job (and doesn’t tell me to get one too). :-) My job would be more dreamy if it were helping to pay the bills, but I can’t complain.

    I love what I do, and yet, it isn’t “important” work. I’m not changing lives or helping people on a daily basis here. One Sunday I was fretting about that in my small group, and someone asked if I thought my creativity delighted God. I think it does. And you know what? That is enough for me, until God tells me to do something different. Maybe someday, I *will* help change someone’s life, because I am in the place I need to be, because of this “meaningless job.” So I create art, and I let God use it how God will.

  16. I will never achieve my dream job (wife and mother) without divine intervention so I hold onto the hope that someday I will achieve the next best thing (wife and stepmother).

    In the meantime, I decided that if I can’t have my dream, I will pursue the job I like. I worked as a secretary for 25 years but quit this January to go back to college. I am majoring in Hospitality Management concentrating in Event Planning. I am one of those crazy people who truly enjoys planning conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. I have a gift of organization and mad people skillz and a strong gut feeling that I am where God wants me to be. It’s not the dream, but it is useful and satisfying.

  17. Greetings Pastor Matt,

    I agree with the idea that this is real life. I think it really is important to provide and put your time in a mundane job. I agree that laziness and get-rich-quick schemes are not good.

    However, I might disagree in the cynicism of the message. I think while it’s true that there’s too much noise out there about living your dreams, finding your passion, etc. But I think Christians, and people in general should hold onto a dream even if just a little bit. And you know what, sometimes after years of toil holding on to a dream can be the hardest thing you can do.

    The thing is that often God really does have an amazing plan for our lives beyond our normal situation, but it’s in His timing and often we’ll have to put ourselves in a position where we rely on Him.

    As for my current job. I enjoy being there. The benefits have allowed me the freedom to pursue dreams (music and writing) while giving some kind of a steady income.

    So maybe we could we find a balance between cynicism and quitting your dayjob to chase the stars?

  18. Great post! It reminds me of a story that Mark Twain wrote about heaven, when all of heaven came out to welcome home a great saint. The saint ended up being a mailman in a small town just doing the job God gave him to do.

    I have my dream job of being a wife and mother. However, even dream jobs have not-so-dreamy aspects to them, as Melissa Jones pointed out. It seems like in this world, there are always unintended consequences, both good and bad, to our dreams which ground them in reality and require us to depend on God whether or not they come true. And my dream job of motherhood is going to end someday, just like any other job, or at least change drastically when my little ones grow up, which is happening faster than I ever realized.

    • The dream job of motherhood never ends. Once a mom, always a mom. If the dream is to take care of little ones, foster parents are always needed. That’s how a friend decided to continue mothering little ones when hers grew up. There are also little ones in need of permanent homes through adoption. Some dreams are always possible if we are flexible.

  19. very interesting that I read this today. Last night I was at a leadership night at my church and we were talking about this kind of thing. The speaker was talking on how to live the dream (even if we don’t know what it is yet). King Saul bumped into his calling while looking for his Dad’s donkeys, and King David was called upon while looking after his Dad’s sheep.
    We got two points:
    1. God commits to authority the one who submits to authority.
    2. God commits to authority the one who chases and rides their fathers (or bosses) donkeys.
    Basically, you gotta ride the mundane to come upon the dream. But don’t neglect to do all of that in a excellent way