By: Tera Ertz
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
I ran across an interesting article on Cracked.com a while back that referenced a Gallup report on the state of the American workforce. As the conversation about the American Dream has shifted toward a focus on the outward trappings of economic success, it is interesting what Gallup’s polling reveals about what has actually happened to our dreams. Did you know that nearly 70% of the people in our nation who are blessed to have a job are not “engaged” with their job? Gallup defines this as not being passionate or enthusiastic about our work. Not only that, but 18% of those blessed with employment in a down economy actively engage in activities to damage their employers and sabotage their fellow employees. This lack of engagement and active sabotage does immense damage to our economy as a whole. How did we get here? How do we change it?
Gallup frames its response for those in the business of employing people, seeking to provide employers and business leaders the means to encourage their employees to become engaged with their jobs. Given their place in the market, that is a reasonable response, but it does not go far enough. We as Christians need to look at why so many of us are not engaging in helping our nation to prosper. The first verse above comes in the middle of instruction to the people of Israel as they were in exile in Babylon. They were clearly told to work to help their home away from home to prosper because as that nation prospered, so would God’s people. So, why are we as God’s children of today failing?
Perhaps it is the dreams we have asked the men of this world to dream for us, as God warned His children would happen to them too in Babylon. As we focused on money, houses, cars and a paycheck, we forgot to ask God what His plans for us were. What work He had equipped us for. In searching for verses for this post I ran across the multitude of verses that tell us not to fret, not to worry about our physical needs. The ones that remind us God knows we need those things, and He will provide them if we keep our eyes on His will for us. In our listening to men’s dreams instead of God, we took our eye off this simple truth, that God made each one of us for a reason. We forgot that the Psalms tell us that He will guide our steps and we will delight in His way.
In forgetting these things, we also forgot Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians. In the surrounding passage he was specifically talking of dietary laws, yet he still included the “whatever you do” command in this verse. Think of that, how are we to bring glory to God if we are apathetic in our jobs, or worse actively seeking to cause harm? If there is not joy in what we do, is it perhaps time to reflect on whether or not we are in the right job? Did we seek God’s guidance on a job, or did we allow the pressures of men’s dreams to sidetrack us into something we were not meant to be doing?
Taken in a larger context, if we are doing a job we aren’t meant to be doing, who have we deprived of the opportunity to do what God has called them to do? Free markets were designed to allow each person to pursue their own happiness. The idea, from a Christian perspective, is that God created each one of us with a passion for what He desires us to do. When we engage in that activity, it will bring us great joy and it will provide something of value to the rest of the body and to the world at large. When each of us pursues the dream God made just for us, all that is needed will be provided, the community we live in will prosper, all the work that needs to be done will be done. When we don’t, we fret, we worry, the economy stagnates, and work goes undone. Perhaps it is time to shift the conversation on worker engagement away from what the management needs to do better and onto how we can each individually refocus on pursuing God’s dreams. Be blessed and be a blessing.
Tera Ertz is the founder of Hope and Change Ministries, author of God Talk: The Beginning, mother of five, and a child of God. You can find her on Facebook, or subscribe to Hope and Change Ministries or Contagious Transformations to keep up with the latest.