“So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For what can bring them to see what will happen after them?” – Ecclesiastes 3:22
This verse in the Scriptures is sobering, written by Solomon as he sought after the meaning of life, humanity’s struggle, and the fleeting power of wealth. How often we disregard the temporal nature of our physical existence, considering work as simply a means to an end, rather than one of the most important investments of our time during our brief lives on earth.
This has been a priority in my own life, especially as I have pursued my dreams of becoming an artist for almost a decade. However, in order to pay my bills, I have worked many jobs that I absolutely hated. This experience has taught me one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in years: invest your time in what matters.
Before we get too far, let me clarify: working a job that you enjoy doesn’t mean that you will become famous, make millions of dollars, or win awards within your field. What I believe with all of my heart is that a meaningful career is one in which you can love others, serve others, create a better future for those around you, and reflect the love of God in all your striving.
For years I have spoken with individuals who have described their career as simply a solid pay check, a 401k, and a nice home in the suburbs. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not an unhealthy way to live when our priorities are in order. However, what is simply destructive about living for comfort is that we’re missing the point of life. We are called to make a difference, not to merely exist for material gain that we cannot take with us at the end of our lives.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan
But what if you hate your job? What if you have too many financial obligations to simply quit and pursue your dreams? This is a hard question that deserves much wisdom and reflection, but here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the past several years that may help you in your own journey:
- You are not your career. Your work should be an investment in the lives of others and the future generations.
- Even during our stay in a job that we hate, we should always be faithful and give that job our best. Maybe this is just the way I was raised, but I believe working your hardest at jobs we dislike will provide us the discipline to work our best towards the careers we desire.
- Some dreams are simply not meant to be. There is no shame in dreaming again. Never forget how to dream.
- If you are discontent in your current job, what are you doing in your present to create a different future? That could include taking classes, searching job boards, attending networking events, etc…Are you creating opportunities for yourself, or simply moaning about your current circumstances?
- Last of all, are you loving and caring for the people you interact with on a daily basis? If not, you’re wasting your time. You may be in finance, real estate, sales, the arts, or another vocation, but if you’re not investing in the lives of others you are missing the point.
So, what about you? If you desire a more meaningful life, how are you currently investing in the lives of those around you?
Life is temporal on this rock, so don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the shining decay of glimmering dust. All these things are passing away, but you are called to live a life that reflects the love of the Father, that invests in a better future for the next generation, and to pursue the God of eternity with all of your heart and soul.
Go live intentionally, not comfortably.