Today we will explore some short thoughts about your job, career, calling, or work. It’s an important subject. Two-thirds of most adult lives will be spent earning a living or doing what you were created to do. God wants our work or useful employment to be enjoyable. Raising children and keeping a house is work too. The Bible says, “To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19.
Let’s start off with a short story that could transform your life and work-life. Fasten your seat belts.
We need to be like the young man who worked in the produce section of a supermarket. His first day on the job, a lady approached him, wanting to buy half a head of lettuce. He tried to dissuade her, but she persisted. Finally, he said, “I’ll have to go back and talk to the manager.” He walked to the rear of the supermarket, not realizing the woman had followed him.
When they found the manager, he said, "There's a silly old lady out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce. What should I tell her?" Seeing the horrified look on the manager's face, the young man around, saw the customer, regrouped, and said in his most gracious voice, "And this nice lady wants to buy the other half."
I like this story. The young man was ‘quick on the draw.’ If he were a dog, I would say he is ‘quick on the paw.’ The lesson here is to be kind at home and at work. Kindness produces favor with God and others. Sometimes you'll need to say what you mean, but you don't have to be mean when you say it. That young man was smart enough to change the direction he was going. He started off bad but ended well. Be enjoyable to work with. We need more endings like this. Usually, it’s the other way around.
Speaking of good, here are some hints on how to earn leverage and favor in your job. Author and speaker John Maxwell enlightens us on this idea. "The person who creates more value has leverage. The person who can walk away has leverage. The irreplaceable person has leverage. The person who has a second option has leverage. The person who everyone likes, and everyone wants to work with has leverage. The person who asks for more gets more leverage. Remember the young man in the story above. He had a second option and used it for his benefit, and also for another's benefit. That’s leverage.
Did you know that work was ordained by God right from the beginning of time? God established what is called the Law of Location. God created the Garden of Eden, placed Adam in it, and told him to 'work it.' "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:22). God said, “Adam, be successful.”
Notice the definite sequence. First: God prepares a place for you. Second: He puts you in it. Third: He tells you to ‘work it.’ Fourth: He says, ‘I want you to succeed.’ Catch the meaning of this. We will flourish in the place we belong, doing what God has called and equipped us to do. Don't expect it to be quick and easy. It's going to take some work.
Most of us will need to start small to go big. Baby steps are good for us. They teach us to walk. But eventually, God wants us to get to the work we were created to do, saying, "I was born for this!" That's being successful. I encourage you to go for it. I sure did, and it paid off one-thousand-fold. The takeaway here is you start looking for your sweet spot because there is a sweet spot for you. You are the way you are because of why you are.
Now let me introduce you to the Parable of the Porcupine. I think you will resonate with it in whatever you are doing.
'It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way, they covered and protected themselves, but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other, and they began to die, alone and frozen.
They had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions to receive the warmth that came from the others. This way, they were able to survive.'
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each person learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities. Don’t be one who starts drama and then say you hate drama. You lose leverage and favor when you are a drama king or queen.
Finally, let’s remember these wise words from John Maxwell in summarizing our career. "In your early years, you won't be as wrong as people think you are. In your later years, you won't be as right as people think you are. And, through all of the years, you will be better than you thought you could be.”