“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for,” writes Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov.
A recent New York Times article entitled Why You Hate Work echoes this idea, suggesting employers should be more concerned with four core needs of their employees. The authors argue that the last of the four core areas is spiritual, and that employees are vastly more satisfied and productive by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.
Today I want to conclude my current discussion, Four Ways to Change How You See Work, by taking a look at this last core area. I have proposed four tools that God has given Christians to help address these four core areas of need:
- In the physical area, God has given us the Sabbath.
- In the emotional area, God has given us work.
- In the mental area, God has given us the resurrection.
- In the spiritual area, God has given us our calling.
In his classic book The Call, Os Guinness suggests that those of us who have tasted God’s grace have been radically transformed and are now open to living our lives according to God’s design and desire:
…the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.
Our primarily call then is to become disciples of Christ, being obedient to the ongoing direction of his leading in our lives. God is calling every Christian to submit his/her whole life to him. This calling extends to every area of our lives. This is why the Apostle Paul can write:
Whether then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Guinness goes on to differentiate between our primary and our secondary callings:
Our primary calling as followers of Christ is by Him, to Him, and for Him . . . . Our secondary calling, considering who God is as sovereign, is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for Him.
Our primary calling should lead without fail to a number of secondary callings: our call to the Church, our call to family, our call to community, and our call to vocation. We discern the difference between our primary calling “to be” and our secondary callings “to do” when we fully integrate God’s call into all areas of life.
For followers of Christ, these secondary callings should lead us to find our unique life purpose, in order to use our particular gifts and abilities to their utmost to bring about flourishing in all these areas for God’s glory.
Understanding our calling is not just about finding purpose in our work but finding purpose in everything we do – understanding that we are on a mission for God.
Are you connected to a higher purpose at work?