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“Crummy jobs shape us.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2014-01-07) from his book with Barna Group, Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every Stage of Your Journey (Frames) (Kindle Location 193). Zondervan.

I have had some of those job and they each one built something into me.  I was a teenage church custodian of my father’s church.  I also took care of the lawn.  When I was in college I was a middle school custodian.  I have been a painter.  In a small down in western Kansas I painted the Post Office, City Hall, the Motel and Restaurant out on the highway and I don’t remember how many houses I painted inside and out. 
I also was a mason’s tender.  That job didn’t end well.  But each one of those jobs built something into me.  They taught me to have pride in what I did but they also showed me they weren’t what I was going to give my life too.  But each one shaped me.

I like how Bob puts it, “We can draw on what we experience over a long, hot summer cleaning a camp kitchen to help us decide what we want for the rest of our lives. When we’re young, a bad job can be all the wake-up call we need to pursue more education and a better job.”

He then says, “What gets confusing along the way is defining what is better. More cash, not just minimum wage, is better. But most of us want more than more money. We want more meaning. We want our jobs to matter. And not just matter in a theoretical sense; we (and 56% of us say this) want to make a difference in the world. We want our work to really matter to us, to our families, and to the world.”

Now I never want to minimize how a clean church or middle school or a freshly painted house can make a difference but if that isn’t the difference that pulls you and gives you meaning then you need to find that out and the way you do that is by the experience of working at various jobs.

Another thing those jobs did for me as a pastor was the importance of understanding what people go though in their work.  I have always had a very real interest in what people do and I usually get around in conversation to have people share what they do.  People need to share what they do.  Knowing that someone is interested in them sharing the details of what they do can bring real meaning.  And in that we can make a difference.

Now I loved being a church planter.  I loved going in to a place and finding people and leading them into a new relationship with Christ and with other people.  I found that to be so meaningful.  And each of the various jobs I did led me to doing what I did and what I do now.   They made a difference in me so I could make a difference through my life.   

So how are you making a difference through your job? 


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