Is Your Job a Gift from God?

Working Enjoyable Job

80% of Americans feel unhappy and unfulfilled in their work, according to researcher and best-selling author Marcus Buckingham. Are you one of them?

In a 2009 address at the Global Leadership Summit, the former Gallup researcher and author of Now, Discover Your Strengths and Standout, said that the number of unfulfilled workers had been on the increase – up from 70% the year before.

From my work as a pastor and life coach, I could have easily guessed that a large percentage of Americans felt that they worked in meaningless jobs that didn’t match their purpose and calling in life.

But eight out of ten people? How sad, especially since the scriptures tell us that God wants us to find enjoyment in our work.  In fact, it was King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, who observed . . . .

“That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 3:13 NIV

If King Solomon was correct in saying that God intends for each person to find pleasure and meaning in his or her work, but only 20% of Americans actually do the work they love, what gives?

Is God playing some kind of cruel trick on the 80% who hate their work? Is he punishing them for something?  Or are they just missing something somewhere?”

One day, after thinking and praying about how finding enjoyment and pleasure in our work could be considered a gift from God, I had an “A-ha” moment as I focused on the nature of the word “gift.”

I asked myself . . . .

“What if God does give each of us meaningful and pleasurable work as a gift . . . but few people ever take the time to look for the gift or receive it?”

I mean, someone may give me a gift and place it under the Christmas tree, right? But that gift isn’t really mine until I look under the tree, find the gift, pick it up, shake it, open it, and eventually use it.

That’s just the way it is, I believe, with our work, when we see it as a gift from God.

He gives each of us a mission or calling in life, but He doesn’t always make it so plain and easy for us to see, does He?

We don’t typically hear a declaration from heaven saying, “Rich Avery, your mission on earth, should you choose to accept it, is to . . . .”

But life would surely be simpler if we did hear that voice, right?

Instead, God most often seems to wrap up our calling like a gift and places it deep inside of us. Then it is up to us to unwrap the gift and discover it for ourselves.

How to Discover Your Calling in Life

How do you find – and most importantly, live out – your calling in life?

1. Take a good look at your unique God-given skills and abilities, personal values (the things that matter most to you), passions, experiences from the past, and dreams for the future. 

2. Bring all of that information together through a process that helps you uncover or clarify your calling and create a plan to fulfill your calling by finding and doing the work you were made for.

Finding meaningful work really requires introspection.  It isn’t about doing the job that pays the most, or the career that we think will be the hottest over the next 5-10 years. It isn’t necessarily about doing the work we went to school for or the career our parents wanted for us. It’s about finding and doing the work God uniquely created us to do.

One of the favorite resources Bible-based resources I’ve used to help people find the work they were meant to do is 48 Days to the Work You Love, a book and workshop created by Dan Miller, a long-time friend of Dave Ramsey.

In 48 Days, Miller lays out a clear pathway to help people identify their calling, discover their skills and abilities, clarify their personal values, understand their passions, evaluate their experiences, focus their dreams, and create a plan to find and do the work they’ll love.

Is Your Job a Gift?

So, let me ask you . . . .

  • Is your job a gift – or does it sometimes feel more like a curse?
  • Do you find satisfaction and fulfillment in your life and work?
  • Are you at peace with who you are and what you do for a living?
  • Do  you feel God’s smile upon the work you do?
  • Do you feel that you’re using your skills and abilities to your full potential?
  • Do you have a plan to help you turn your dreams into reality?

If you answered no to any of these questions, today is your opportunity to do something about it!

Please don’t waste another minute working a job that isn’t fulfilling you or making the difference in the world that God uniquely designed you to make.

Life is too short!  And the world needs what you have to offer!

Here are three things you can do right now to find the work you were made for:

  1. Find a life coach (or a financial coach) who can guide you through a process to help you find and do the work you’ll love.
  2. Attend a 48 Days to the Work You Love workshop in your area.
  3. Buy the 48 Days to the Work You Love book and work through this process on your own.

Do you love your work? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave a comment below!

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17 Comments
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  1. I was on board all the way up until the end — the 3 things I can do today all require my credit card! *sigh*

    Finding meaning in our jobs is important, and I sort of think one reason that job dissatisfactoin may be so high is because our American expectations have been rising over time. Before, all Americans wanted was a middle-class house, one car, and a happy little housewife. But now we “require” mulitple, big cars, everyone has a career, we must have a giant house, we need big screen TVs and the latest doodads, and our lives are not complete unless our job is absolutely perfect for our exact personality. I think we almost set ourselves up for disappointment in life and career. I think people should maybe take a better look at their lives and decide if maybe their expectations have risen to unreasonable proportions. Is your job so terrible? Or do you get things done and help people out, and then get to come home at night. Maybe that’s not so bad. Maybe God has already gifted us with work we like, if only we’d allow ourselves to like it and stop trying to upgrade all the time.

    • I don’t believe you could have said it any better TB! I find myself from time to time desiring to upgrade even though I know how to be content and thankful for what G

    • TB, thanks for your comment! I agree with you that a lot of Americans make career decisions based on what will pay the most to support their lifestyle, rather than the kind of work that gives them the most meaning and fulfillment in life. Gratefully, I’m seeing more and more people turn away from chasing dollars to chasing God’s design for their lives.

      I listed the “48 Days to the Work You Love” workshops and book at the end of my post because they provide a Bible-based pathway to help people identify their calling, discover their skills and abilities, clarify their personal values, understand their passions, evaluate their experiences, focus their dreams, and create a plan to find and do the work they’ll love.

      The “48 Days to the Work You Love” book made a huge difference in my life over 10 years ago, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It is available in bookstores everywhere, and hopefully in a local library near you.

  2. Do you love your work? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave a comment below!

    I’m content with where I’m working right now, although it’s not my passion. What’s holding me back is timing. I am a writer – and where I’m at right now in that journey doesn’t involve an income. Therefore, I’m working full-time at a travel agency to help my husband financially (as we just got married last year, he just graduated college, and therefore has a lot of loans to pay off!). I also want to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom one day in the near future. I’m slowly working on steps to meet my goals… but I know I’m where I am for the time being because God has me here… I can learn while I’m here, and I can grow. I’m gaining new skills, and I’m placed in a situation where I can learn to be patient and wait and trust in God.

    Whatever we do, may it be for the glory of God. May we work at everything to please God and not man. May we be content and joyful in all situations.

    • Anna, I love what you’ve shared – thanks! You know what you want, have a basic plan in mind and know where you’re going, are taking the steps that you can right now, and are making progress on achieving your goals. You’re way ahead of so many people who have a dream but no reasonable plan on how to get there – hence they take no steps forward toward achieving their dream. May God continue to bless and guide you and your husband in the pursuit of your God-given dreams!

  3. I’m the the bluecollarworkman above! I was onboard too, until the end! I agree with what he said. When we quit thinking about what’s in it for me and how can I be better than my neighbor we may find we are or can be satisfied with the jobs we already have. Americans think life is some fabulous tv show or soap opera! I like to think God has placed me in the right job and it’s up to me to enjoy it and use it to glorify him.

  4. oops…God has blessed my family with. It’s right we are bombarded with images and ideas of what is “respected” and run after that instead of pursuing peace in contentment. This isn’t to squash ambition, but there is a fine balance that needs to be maintained. ~my 2 cents…

  5. Looking back on that time in my life, I actually believe God influenced my boss to give me my job… I don’t love what I’m doing every single day but I do find it fulfilling! I can see God’s hand in my work many days and thank Him when my experiments go well!

  6. Your job may or may not be a gift from God; you may or may not need to find your calling to fulfill your personal destiny. What to do in the meantime? Consider yourself God’s gift to your employer! Pray for them, bless them, treat them, and think of them, as if they were your family. Yes, even when they mistreat you. You were put there for a reason, and that may be for their benefit as well as for yours. While you’re working, and while you’re seeking God’s will, remember that you are, this moment, God’s ambassador in whatever sphere you currently find yourself. Make the most of it!

    • Great points, David. Thanks for sharing them!!! You reminded me of this quote from Richard C. Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate:

      “You go no place by accident this week. Wherever you go, Christ is sending you. You are nowhere by accident this week. Wherever you are, Christ has placed you. Because wherever you go, and wherever you are, Christ has a job He wants to do there, and He can only do it in your body.”

  7. I liked my job, but I don’t think I really appreciated it until I was laid off. I was unemployed for a little while and now I am back working. With so many people out of work I know how fortunate I am. I also made the decision to take me destiny into my own hands by creating and running my own website. I know it will take a lot of work, but I like a challenge and enjoy helping others.

    • David, you make a really key point about taking ownership of your career and finances, and not just leaving it up to the good graces of your employer. Congrats on starting your own blog!

  8. I am very thankful that the Lord made it possible for me to retire and do what I love: writing. So that is indeed a gift.

    That said, in my experience and observation, there is no such thing as a totally perfect job, nor a totally hideous job. There are good elements and bad elements in every situation, work included. Some have more good and others less. Also, circumstances shift. The good boss gets promoted and is replaced with one less so (or vice versa). Over time, the more effort we put in, the more reward we end up with. This isn’t just nose to the grindstone type of effort, but also networking outside your employer, helping at industry events, volunteering inside and outside your employer, and so forth. Even if you’re unhappy or unfulfilled, diligent effort in all dimensions almost always pays off. Solomon and the ant type of thing…

    One of the earlier posts touched on one of the things to do: in all things to be content.

  9. Shawn, thanks so much for sharing your tips!

  10. I do think it is important for you to like what you do…it’s imperative to your health and well-being.
    I do however feel there are several different approaches to this:
    1) You can find things within your current job that you can emphasize and enjoy.
    2) Remember your current job is just a means of making money and in your free time find and pursue the things that bring you the most joy
    3) Once you’ve found those things you enjoy and are good at…find a way to make it into a business that can maybe bring you done revenue.

  11. •Is your job a gift – or does it sometimes feel more like a curse?
    Both, I am blessed to have enjoyed a good salary, benefits, sometimes interesting work, and job security for many years. My job has certainly has been disappointing in many ways. However, that disappointment fueled an interest in investment that has given me an opportunity for ministry and an early retirement.

    •Do you find satisfaction and fulfillment in your life and work?
    Not very often

    Are you at peace with who you are and what you do for a living?
    Sometimes I understand that I have accomplished many goals and have been given much that others might envy, but in my heart I feel I could have been a contender instead of a bum…..well as Rocky said, “Maybe half a bum.”

    •Do you feel God’s smile upon the work you do?
    Yes, but usually it is the approval of a physically absent, emotionally distant father who is far more interested in building my character than in my happiness.

    •Do you feel that you’re using your skills and abilities to your full potential?
    No

    •Do you have a plan to help you turn your dreams into reality?
    First I will retire. Now you have permission to ask the obvious question, “Then what?”

  12. God led me to my job….
    I was in a sales job, high stress, long hours, I wasnt the best dad… I prayed, I thanked him for the life he has give me, and asked for help…

    My neighbors all work at the same company… they kept telling me I would be a good fit… I resisted… afraid of change, I loved the people I worked with… then one day, I said heck with it, I applied…

    Months when by, didnt hear anything…

    Then one day on the way home after a really bad day at my current employer… I received a phone call for an interview, I pulled over to the first large parking lot I could find so I could concentrate and talked to the HR rep, just so happened to be in the down library…

    I couldnt wait to get home, when I got home, my wife was talking to her mom… she said her mom wanted to talk to me… She went on to say that she said a prayer for me and she hoped i would hear something soon… it was at that point I told her and my wife at the same time that I had an interview…

    Prayers were answerd,… I got the job… and the cool thing about this whole story… my mother in law is a librarian… weird how everything is tied together

    Now I get off at 2:30 everyday, less hours, same pay, able to pick up my kids from school, volunteer at school, and maybe cook a meal before the wife gets home :-)

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