When I was in college, I changed majors seven times. Bless my Mom’s heart. I bet it seemed like every time she called I was pursuing something different. All these changes mean I’ve had many different answers to “what’s your major” or, once I had a job, “what do you do for a living?” But the strange thing is, no matter what answer I gave, the reaction was often the same:
“Oh, good for you. I don’t know if I could ever do that.”
After noticing this pattern, I have since paid attention when other people are asked about what they do. Turns out, it’s not just my answers and it’s not just in reaction to paid jobs but also to unpaid and volunteer work. I have seen (or had) the reaction, “Oh my. Good for you. I don’t know if I could ever do that” to someone saying they are a nurse, teacher, entrepreneur, lawyer, police officer, lineman, pastor, stylist, administrative professional, stay-at-home-parent, accountant, janitor, missionary, laborer, farmer, politician, church nursery volunteer, soldier, waitress, engineer, or electrician. So, what’s behind this common response to other people’s work?
- Some of it is genuine admiration. We want to affirm other people. We are conveying thanks and/or gratitude for the work they do.
- We are engaging in comparison. When someone else says what they do, many of us automatically begin to inventory our abilities, gifts, and interests and notice how different they are from our own.
Obviously, number one is not a problem. And, number two isn’t a problem as long as it is doesn’t wander into the realm of judgment and criticism. But, what I’ve learned is, sometimes it does. So, here is what I wanted to make sure you hear today:
No one person’s call is more valuable than another. In short, the most noble calling is the one you are designed for because that is where God can best use you.
God can use work as worship for any of us. He needs people in all types of work because He needs His people served in all kinds of ways. Our lives are not simply what we do, but the “how” and “why” we do it. While the world (or your own perception) may place more importance on certain professions, God does no such thing.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10, NIV
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
If looking at what other people are doing with their lives makes you feel badly (or makes you feel better!) please take a pause. Comparison is often just a fancy version of judgment, and that’s why God asks us not to do it. Our job is simply to search, learn, and understand how God has created us and then lean into however that allows us to serve Him and His people. Our greatest satisfaction can be found in that place, not someone else’s.
You, dear reader, are valuable just exactly as He designed you. And, that design means You have valuable work to do. Onward in your most noble calling. Do it for Him.