I was listening to my pastor in church this past Sunday, and I was struck by something he said about human beings. It seems like many of us are human “doings.” We seem to want to define ourselves by our jobs, our careers, the things we do to fill up our daily lives. He asked, though, do we do what we do because that’s our life’s desire or simply to get a paycheck to survive from day-to-day?
When I was much younger, I was simply looking for a way to have some spending money, or to pay for my driver’s license and , eventually, to pay for my college tuition. Those jobs (jack-hammering out a new cellar hole, kitchen worker at our local hospital, mail room at the factory where my dad worked, painting houses with my future bother-in-law, working night shifts at the nearby paper mill, cooking at a local restaurant–the last three all at the same time!) were, for the most part simply to make money–although cooking has become one of my favorite hobbies. I didn’t want to make any of these jobs my life’s work. At this point in my life, I was a human “doing.” Unfortunately, many of us get caught in getting a steady paycheck and find ourselves getting locked in to something we really don’t want to spend the rest of our lives doing. Ask a mix of some of the people you know and find out how many are working to simply get money to survive and how many love what they are doing.
I was going to become a lawyer. I loved words and I loved arguing. Perfect match, huh? Two years into college, I discovered that I didn’t really want to become a lawyer. I wanted to teach kids. So, I earned my teaching certification and as soon as we got married, my wife and I began to teach little kids at our church. Then I began to teach a Sunday School class. Then I started coaching. Then came substitute teaching and full-time teaching. Then more coaching jobs. And then, finally becoming a youth pastor. I was never happier than when I was teaching, coaching and pastoring–all at the same time. Sure, I got paychecks. And, while these various types of teaching were my jobs, I wasn’t limited or “stuck” with them because they were what I wanted to do. It was who I was–and still am though in many different ways.
God made us human beings to accomplish the things he gave the talents and abilities to do. How sad it would be to simply do what gives a paycheck and never to enjoy the opportunity to become what He designed to be.