Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: Appropriate Work

Psalms 97, 99, (100) * 94, (95); Jeremiah 17:19-27; Romans 7:13-25; John 6:15-27

What do we do if we feel trapped at work? What do we do if we are doing something as our means of supporting ourselves that violates our faith, our beliefs? What are we to do if we are asked (or more likely told/ordered) to do something that violates some basic principles we live by? In particular, what are we supposed to do in today's economic environment when so many people are losing or have lost their jobs? 

I'm not sure how much Jesus helps us with this conundrum today when he says...Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you

How are we to help provide food and shelter for those we love, who we help care for, if we cannot find a job that fits our beliefs? How do we do the same for ourselves? Do we have to live a bifurcated life: our spiritual/religious beliefs over here, our "work-life" on this side? I don't think this is an uncommon conundrum in our world. I know a number of individuals who try and walk this tight rope.

Where Jesus is pointing us is to a path that is off that tight rope. Jesus wants us to embody the principles he teaches in all that we are, and in all that we do, and in all that we can be. Is this easy? No, it is a lifetime's work. But if we find ourselves doing something that violates some deep part of our beliefs, by continuing to labor at that, we are killing a part of ourselves. Each of us needs to get ourselves out of that kind of situation....find some way to extricate ourselves and move to a type of job, a kind of industry, that will further the creation of the kingdom. Will those kind of jobs allow us to live a lavish lifestyle? Nope, probably not. But that lavishness is perishable. Jesus is asking us to consider what is important in life, really important, and to order our lives and our work accordingly.

Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved

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