“A MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE JOBLESS” was the headline splashed across the front page of the Evening Standard. As I perused the pages on my commute home from my stable job, I realised just how blessed I was to be there. The truth is, finding a decent job in this current economic climate is difficult. More than difficult. But yet there I was only a week prior to this moment, whining and complaining about work. I was humbled as I continued to read the paper, but selfishly, my humbled state was still dreading work the next day. I knew then and there that it was time for change and that when Jesus said He promised me life in abundance (John 10:10), He didn’t put “expect for when you’re at work” in the small print.
It seems right to contextualise this, and explain that I am a Drama teacher in a comprehensive secondary school. I’ve been teaching for just over three years and on the whole, I enjoy it. However, over the past six months or so, I’ve felt a real shift in my attitude towards my job. For about four or five years now, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to work with young people. Teaching was never my first choice for the capacity in which I worked with them, but I decided it seemed like the best possible option in order for me to live the life of independence I wanted. Youth work would be my ideal platform. But sadly, it often doesn’t pay the rent. That being said, I feel sure, that one day, God will put me in a position of pastoral responsibility over young people. Whether that’s in a church, a school, as a councillor… I don’t know. But now we come to my problem. I had become too focused on the ‘one day’. Eyes fixed on my dream job, my goal, I’d decided that where I currently was, was irrelevant. I’d forgotten that just as much as God isn’t a God who puts my hope to shame, He’s also a God who requires me to do what I do with excellence. There is nothing excellent about coasting while hoping that our deficiencies will somehow disappear.
I’m not really someone who does 'role models’, however, if I was to list the few I have, the 'Proverbs 31 woman’ would be up there. (Proverbs 31:10-31). She was diligent, loving, strong, prepared, skilled, dignified, respected, trustworthy, independent and God-fearing. I am praying for all of these qualities and more in abundance for God’s glory and also in order to bless my future husband and children just as this woman did. I desperately want to acquire these God given attributes. Something that is so apparent as I meditate on these scriptures is that my girl was not lazy… at all. She was quite the opposite. If Miss Proverbs 31 was a Drama teacher, I have no doubts that she’d have been the absolute best one going. Reading of her honour, I was convicted of my idleness. I had got to the point at work where my faith had become an excuse to take my eye off the ball while waiting for my 'real purpose’, rather than a reason to be the best I could be. This meant that I was not only failing to give my students what they deserved, but most importantly, dishonouring my holy and perfect Lord and Saviour.
The truth is that sometimes within our jobs, we will have to work for people that don’t necessarily follow our belief systems, policies or methods. However, when we finally meet Jesus face to face, we’re going to want Him to utter the words “well done good and faithful servant”. We must be good and faithful even when others around us are not. We must be good and faithful even when we are mistreated. We must be good and faithful even we’re tired. We must be good and faithful in the places God has put us. We are His ambassadors and His stewards. This truth needs to begin to mean something to us. To me. This becomes even more apparent when reading Colossians 3:23. It states, “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men.” “Whatever you do.” These words hit home for me again. I’ve read them many times before, but thinking back to my lazy lessons and moan-filled meetings I realised that my attitude had become anything but 'hearty’.
And so, reader, I challenge you. I challenge myself, to work ‘unto the Lord’ in whatever it is we’re doing today. Be diligent, drop the attitude and understand that someone somewhere would love to do what you’re doing right now. That someone somewhere has been actively seeking employment for months without even getting to the point of interview. That someone somewhere is struggling to make ends meet. Let this convict us and motivate us to work harder. You may be at a point where, where you are right now is not where you want to be. Allow me to close with a Proverb that helps me during those “what’s the point?!” moments.
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)
It starts with a commitment to Him. Let Him do the worrying for you. Just abide and rest in Him and wait patiently for His plans and purposes to unfold. Nobody knows creation better than Creator.
Don’t let “what’s next?” rob you of what’s now.