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Aren’t you supposed to hate your job?

November 9, 2007

Sometimes I feel guilty and I’m not sure why.

 

 

I think it’s because I love my job. I really do. I look forward to scripture study, sermon preparation, theological reading, pastoral visits, planning sacramental services and teaching our mid-week Bible and book studies. I love doing all those things. During my covenant group this morning we played with a metaphor that I am now going to use for our four Advent sermons. My daughter is leading a small group of youth who will make banners for our sanctuary for Advent. And I find all of this stuff fun and exciting.

 

 

I feel guilty because somewhere deep down inside I think people are supposed to hate their jobs. Think about that for a second. My dad never liked his jobs and I remember him saying that he would move heaven and earth so that my brother and I could attend college – mostly so we wouldn’t have to bust our butts like he did just to make a living. I constantly hear people talk about retirement, counting down the days and months until they can retire like fifteen-year-olds count down the days until they get their driver’s licenses. (I have often wondered aloud what that says about our culture – that everyone I know is working at jobs they can’t wait to quit doing.)

 

 

I love my job. I have fun at work. I know some of my earlier blog posts are a bit cranky in nature. And it’s true that ministry demands working closely with others while carefully guarding our boundaries, ultimately making the vocation a lonely one. But there is deep satisfaction in serving God by serving others. It feels great to know that a funeral service brought comfort to a family, and that they felt the presence of God in the midst of great grief. When the closing hymn of a service has that little extra “oomph” because the congregation is clearly moved by the Spirit, it’s a wonderfully gratifying sensation.

 

 

And it’s not about feeding my ego. I’m careful and intentional about that. But these things do feel like affirmations that I am responding appropriately to God’s call upon my life.

 

 

Sometimes I love my job so much that it’s hard to call it a job. It’s a blessing, a response to a call, a means of grace. It is as natural as my own voice (the words vocation and voice are derived from the same root after all). We should all be so happy.

 

 

I have frustrations. I won’t pretend I don’t. But the positives far outweigh the negatives in this vocation, at least for me.

 

 

I am daily and eternally grateful to God for calling me to the awesome task of pastoral ministry. Thanks be to God.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. arachnerd permalink
    November 13, 2007 8:08 am

    I don’t really think you’re supposed to hate your job. I don’t think most people do either. Oh we complain & vent, but we don’t really hate it. I don’t anyway. I really like what I do & the company where I do it has been exceedingly good to me. (I did have one job that I truly hated – telemarketing, selling newspaper subscriptions – that’s why I quit after just 1 week.) But I truly believe that God placed me here. He has blessed me with many of the relationships I’ve made, the positions that I’ve held, and the doors that have been opened. And He has used me to help & bless others.

    Sometimes I envy those people like you whose call is to ordained ministry because it seems more clear-cut & straight forward than the rest of us whose call to minister is more diverse & difficult to discern.

  2. November 15, 2007 1:25 pm

    I have been “around the block” so to speak regarding “jobs”. I have worked in a sporting goods store, was assistant manager in a drug store, had my own chimney sweep business, taught 5th grade, and been a police officer. Teaching and police work were my effort to run away from my calling to be a pastor. I’ve been in full-time ministry for about 20 years.

    In truth, I have at time “hated” all my jobs at some point. And all those time can be tied into my needing a vacation, or overworking / not taking care of myself. When I did take care of myself, I usually found that I could focus back on work, with new enthusiasm.

    I have the privilege of mentoring new pastoral candidates. What I cover with them more than anything else . . . is taking care of themselves. There has to be a balance between the physical, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of life.

    Granted, I don’t know Will personally. But I do know about pastors who love what they are doing. God is part of that. Take that to the bank. But having a balanced perspective about where you are in life has a big part to do with that as well.

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