Study Something You Love October 23 2015

A sign I saw in the L.A. subway said “Study something you love.”  It is an advertisement to apply to a school to become a musician.   The school administration was very smart to connect something that many people enjoy with an educational opportunity that will bring in funds for the school.  I’m sure they are doing well with that advertising campaign.  

But I would imagine that a lot of the graduates of this school find out that there are far fewer people that make a living as a musician than have aspirations to be one. The dreams of doing what you enjoy are sometimes fulfilled, but more often come face-to-face with the harsh realities of having to find work that people are willing to pay for.  

There is a man in our church whose business is a combination of plumbing and pumping out septic tanks.  I doubt that he went around when he was young saying “some day I want to be a septic-tank-pumping man.”  But this is the job God has provided for him to do and he does it faithfully.

There are many jobs like that in this world.  Housework can be like that also.  From a human perspective, it is often thought of as simply drudgery and routine, but God says that every job or task is important, no matter how small it is perceived to be.  Jesus said “He who is faithful in a little thing is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). He didn’t say “will be faithful in much” He said “is faithful.”  In other words, faithfulness in the little jobs (or the dirty ones) is equivalent to faithfulness in the big, clean ones, in God’s sight.  Faithfulness in pumping out a reeking septic tank is just as important as faithfulness in being mayor of a city.

It is wonderful when people naturally enjoy their work.  But we can have joy in our work, and be thankful for it, even when the job is unpleasant or is not challenging.  We just need to look beyond the task itself to what God is doing in our lives through the situation He has us in at the moment.  Here are a couple of other work-related principles:

  • Sometimes we find ourselves doing work for the wrong boss.  We can have joy in any job when we do our work “heartily as for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23).  We may have great bosses at times and difficult ones at other times.  Our spiritual boss will honor our faithfulness even when our human one does not.
  • Messes and cleanup are a natural part of work.  Proverbs 14:4 states “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.”  Don’t expect every job to go perfectly every day.  A wise boss once told me “Steve, if you didn’t have problems, you probably wouldn’t have a job.” He was reminding me that a big part of many jobs is figuring out how to solve problems
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t want to go to school, improve our skills, or advance in the jobs we are capable of doing.  We are to be good stewards of the gifts and talents the Lord has given to us.  But even while we may be looking for other employment, we are also to be content.  

By the way, we are also thankful for the musicians who lead us in worship on Sundays and on other occasions. Many of them do it as purely a ministry without compensation.  Perhaps some of them went to schools like the one on the poster in L.A. subway. So thanks for your ministry to the Lord and us!

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Steve Smith