Christians can find job satisfaction as a by-product of the abundant life Jesus promises (John 10:10). I want to discuss job satisfaction from a biblical perspective, share some personal observations about my own situation, and then challenge you to consider how you can find contentment and peace where God has put you right now. I hope you can fully rest in God’s sovereignty and provision, knowing that he has a divine purpose for you as a co-worker with him in your place of employment.
A Biblical View of Job Satisfaction
Ecclesiastes says a lot about work. Its purpose is to show what life is like under the sun, to contrast it with the abundant life that is found under the Son. It often paints a bleak picture of work.
The Preacher, possibly Solomon himself, emphasizes his theme in Ecclesiastes 1:2: “Meaningless!” (Other versions use “vanity.”) He says that everything is meaningless, especially work:
What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? (Eccl. 1:3)
In Ecclesiastes 2:17-26, he elaborates, saying work is “grievous to me”; it is a “chasing after the wind.” He hates what he has worked so hard for. Once he is gone, he does not know what is going to happen to what he has invested his time and energy in. He wonders:
What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? (Eccl. 2:22)
And yet Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 contains a curious admonition. Considering that God is in control and has “made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11), he states that men should “be happy and do good while they live…eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God…there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot.”
This reminds me of what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Whatever Paul had, he was grateful for, knowing full well that his Lord provided it all, both good and bad.
It’s Possible to Find Job Satisfaction in Day-to-Day Work
Being satisfied in a stressful job that wears you down is not easy. However, in my thirty plus years as a government and civilian employee, I have experienced true joy, unexplainable peace, and a deep sense of purpose at work, despite all the thorns and thistles that come from various fallen people, places, and things I encounter every single day.
It is a gift to see how God is using me where I work. Recently, I had two conversations, one with a senior Army officer in the morning and another with a fellow civilian employee that afternoon. I had the opportunity to show genuine concern and compassion in both conversations. This allowed them to open up about what was going on in their lives. They trusted me enough to be vulnerable because I have been assigned alongside these individuals and previously earned the right to be involved in their lives for God’s glory.
I have known for some time, with respect to my current position, that I am uniquely qualified for this job based on my skills, talents, personality, and experiences. This adds to my understanding of God’s call in my own life, which has taken a lot of twists and turns along the way.
Surely I am not the only one who feels this way! I have seen family, friends, and co-workers who are also at the right place and time, with the right gifts and talents, and are making a difference for the glory of God in their jobs.
I know some amazing school administrators (biblical principals using biblical principles), teachers (from preschool to college level), computer programmers, public affairs specialists, salesmen, engineers, beauticians, mothers, medical laboratory specialists, actors, soldiers, speech therapists, students, and community volunteers who all recognize God’s purposes, plans, and presence at work. Knowing this brings some measure of satisfaction.
So, what about you? Do you have a sense that God has designed and prepared you to do what you get paid to do? Are you filled with contentment and the peace that passes all understanding, resting in God’s grace that has led you safely thus far and will ultimately lead you home?
This post has been adapted from its original version. You can read it in its entirety here.