Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What's Your Job Description?

Do you often wonder what your role is in life? In the Church? In a given occupation, there's usually a job description that goes with it. That description may require an individual to have several differing skills that all mesh into one job description. One example is housewife. Some have said that housewives must be an experienced babysitter, educator, counselor, psychologist, nurse, chef, interior designer, gardener, house cleaner, among many other roles. All of these roles fall under the same job description. Most jobs have multiple roles that must be mastered, or at least be proficient in, in order to be successful.

Every once in a while, it's good to review what God's job description is for each of us individually. I Cor. 12 discusses how each of us have various talents, gifts, works and ministries, and yet they all should seamlessly fit together within Christ's body. Sometimes several roles are similar. There are certain roles that all members of the Church have. There are certain skills that ministers, laymembers, or evangelists should have.

However, God loves a diversity of personalities, talents and viewpoints. My job description as a laymember may be much different than another laymember just as one minister may serve a different role in the Church than another minister. A minister's job description is obviously different than a laymember's. One minister may be better at humor and counseling while another may be better at researching history and reading Greek. I happen to be good at logic and computers while someone else may have skills in teaching and music.

The overriding point here is that God has called us for a purpose and He will use and develop the talents that each of us have in the way He needs. Growing up, I noticed that I was fascinated by many topics and have tried to gain understanding and skill in most of these areas. But lately, I notice that only specific talents and abilities are being used in my life. In fact, areas that I have never developed or thought were weaknesses are growing and are being used more and more.

That's not to say that the various talents we have that don't seem to match the "king and priest" job description must be tossed out. For example, I can't possibly see how my love of origami, volleyball and sketch art would fit. But neither could I have seen that my grandfather giving me logic word puzzles when I was 8 would develop my mind to become a computer programmer. Another example is that our love of games and sports teach us how to enjoy fellowship. Music and art teach us order, proportion, style and beauty. Telling stories may make us better speakers. These are in addition to Bible study, prayer, meditation and fasting, which add knowledge, sound mindedness and righteous judgment, among many other things, to our character.

Take stock of the various talents and responsibilities that you have. Then notice what skills you have been developing lately. Note where you've been asked to serve in Church or at work. Check to see if there are any patterns between all these. Read the scriptures to see how your roles coincide with roles in the Bible. God spends a lot of space defining the roles of deacons and elders, of servants (employees) and masters (bosses), of husbands, wives and children, along with the kings, priests, Levites and whole nations. Note the character and qualities of a Christian that Christ describes on the Sermon on the Mount. These are roles and characteristics that God wants us to develop on our job description!

It reminds me of a story that C.S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity. This isn't a direct quote, but basically states that when we surrender our lives to God, we can use the analogy of fixing up a house. We may be a quaint home that needs some paint, a little foundation work and some sanding here and there. Then all the sudden, God comes in with a sledge hammer and begins knocking down walls. HE wants to build a mansion or add a wing, whereas we were content with what we were. The question remains, are we allowing God to transform us so we can one day match His job description for us?

I believe it is important to know what our job description is because it directs our energy in the right direction. I've sat in a few year-end reviews where my boss told me I had many things to work on, that I wasn't living up to the full job description. Once they were right there in front of me, I could work on them. It became clear what I was supposed to be doing and I became more valuable to my boss and my company as a result.

It is important to note what our job description doesn't include. That's not to say that we don't go out and try to be a profitable servant by doing something benefitial for our boss. But we certainly don't attempt to do our bosses job. That mindset will lead us to criticize our boss and it will set him on edge. And we'll have spent more time thinking about how he should be doing his job (or how we could be doing it) rather than doing our own. II Thes. 3:11 warns against being a busybody which contributes to neglecting work. This doesn't only have to include our workplace, but can include Church and family as well. Rather, do what your job description says to and you will find more peace in your life (v12). V13 states, finally, that we should not be weary in doing well, in hard work. For that is our calling. We should be profitable servants in what we are given to do (Matt. 25).

Finally, it must be understood that as we grow older, wiser and more experienced that our roles in our job description will change. Some will be ordained deacons and ministers. Some will retire. Some will make more money to financially help out the Work and fellow brethren. Others will have more time to pray for the brethren, or prepare food and visit those in need. God may give us the gift of a wife or husband or child. He may take one away from us. As I heard in a post-Feast sermon this last year, God isn't promoting or demoting us, He's simply giving us a different role in the Body of Christ. We are still important and necessary as long as we stay faithful to Him.

All in all, our life's job description is very important in maintaining a right direction, using our energy wisely and preparing us for our future job in God's Kingdom. What we do today has every bit of importance for how we turn out tomorrow. Though our job descriptions may be different, all of us in God's Church have the same objective for our work. Completing the parable of the profitable servant, Matthew 25:34 states that Christ will welcome those who completed His job, "Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

1 comment: said...

Good post Mike, I enjoyed it. Good point that a long with understanding our job description we need to also know what is not included. Hope you had a good Sabbath, Mick