Public Square

How to Find Eternal Meaning in Your Work

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Have you ever been working hard and wondered, “Why am I doing this? No one’s going to remember me or this project, so what’s the point?”

Stephen Miller makes the point in a Gospel Coalition article that we are all going to die and be forgotten. No matter how hard we work today, it’s certainly not guaranteed that people will remember our specific accomplishments. Still, we often rely on others as our ultimate source of validation.

Miller contrasts us with Jesus:

Jesus had no void to fill. He was the definition of filled-to-overflowing. So when he came to this earth, he wasn’t looking for people to help him find his meaning and worth. He didn’t use them so that he could feel good about himself. He knew who he was—the Son of God, and God himself—and that deep, intimate knowledge enabled him not to be served, but to serve with no ulterior motives.

Miller is referring to those working in Christian ministry. But the point applies to everyone who does any sort of work. Rather than doing our work for the praise and recognition of others, we need to have a higher goal in mind. Neither people nor work alone can give us significance.

Only when we look to God as our ultimate source of validation will we find meaning in what we do and who we serve.

Miller concludes his article by saying,

We all want to succeed. We all want our efforts to mean something in the end, to be worth it when all is said and done. But when death comes knocking, I would hate to find I received my entire reward here on earth.


True success looks like laying crowns at the feet of the only one whose name will be praised for all eternity…His name is Jesus. And he is all the meaning we need.

We will experience both earthly success and failure here on earth. Once we pass away, others might forget what we have done. But when we truly do our work for the glory of God, we can know that what we do has both temporal and eternal significance.

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