Meaningful Work…God’s Gift to You

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on spirituality & faith. I do it because we’re all spiritual beings and have a moral compass in our lives.  You can learn more by clicking here. Today I’m reposting an article I wrote a year ago, called Is Your Job a Gift From God?, which I thought was especially applicable here at Christmas.

A few years ago, I heard Marcus Buckingham, one of Gallup’s lead researchers and author of Now Discover Your Strengths, speak at a conference.  He said something that absolutely floored me:

80% of Americans feel unhappy and unfulfilled in their work.

That number, he said, was up from 70% a few years before!  My mouth dropped open when I heard the news!  I had no idea.

Could it really be true that eight out of ten men and women, maybe even you, work at a meaningless job that doesn’t match their purpose and calling in life?  Sadly, it was true.

And then a thought came to mind – actually, it was a verse of scripture – that really gave me something to think about!

That each person finds pleasure in his work…this is a gift from God. – Ecclesiastes 3:13

These were the words of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.  I sat and thought about the verse for a few minutes, and then I asked myself,

How is it that God intends for each person to find pleasure and meaning in his or her work…and yet only 20% of Americans actually do.  Is God really playing a cruel trick on the other 80% who don’t find pleasure in their work?  Or are they missing something somewhere?”

Later, I had an “A-ha” moment and wondered if the key to the whole thing was the word “gift.”

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 to receive it?”

After all, someone may give me a gift by placing it under the Christmas tree.  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, if we see it as a gift from God.  I believe God gives each of us a calling in life and work we’re meant to do.  But He doesn’t often make it so plain for us to see, does He?  We don’t typically hear a declaration from heaven saying, “John Smith, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to…”  Life sure would be simpler if He did!

Instead, He wraps up our calling like a gift and places it inside of us.  Then it is up to us to unwrap the gift and discover it for ourselves.

How do we do that?  You can learn how by reading the post Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design – #3 “Clarify Your Life Purpose”.

So, let me ask you, friend…Does your job feel like a gift – or is it 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?

If not – Do something about it!  Don’t waste another minute working a job that isn’t fulfilling.  Life is too short!  Keep reading, because our goal at Life Compass is to help you achieve your dreams and create more freedom, purpose and fulfillment in your life and work!

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What Death Teaches Us About Life

On Sundays I write on Spirituality & Faith.  I do it because I believe we’re all spiritual beings and have a moral compass in our lives.  You can learn more by clicking here.

Last Wednesday, I attended the funeral for one of my earliest spiritual mentors.  He was the youth pastor, and then senior pastor, of the church I grew up in.  He served in that church for 33 years.

He was only 58 at the time of his death.  When I was a kid, 58 sounded pretty old, but now that I’m 40, it doesn’t really sound so old at all!  Really, no matter how old we are when we die, life is too short.

The Bible reminds us of this fact over and over.  The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time to be born and a time to die.  You and I can’t control either activity, can we?

The Apostle James tells us that life is fleeting, like the morning fog. In fact, here’s what he said in James 4:13-17: [Read more…]

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers from the U.S.!  When I reflect on what being thankful means to me, I quickly realize that very little of who I am or what I do or what I have is a result of my own efforts.

Yes, there is work I must do.  But God takes my feeble efforts and makes something out of them.  I do what only I can do…and God does what only He can do.

Earlier this week, I came across this poem/hymn by Mathius Claudius, called “We Plow the Fields,” which beautifully expresses this sentiment, and reminds me of the many blessings from God that I can be thankful for:

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

We thank You, then O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food;
Accept the gifts we offer for all Your love imparts,
And what You most desire, our humble, thankful hearts.

–Mathias Claudius

Giving Thanks in 2010

On Sundays I write on Spirituality & Faith.  I do it because I believe we’re all spiritual beings and have a moral compass in our lives.  You can learn more by clicking here.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., so I thought I’d share a scripture of thanksgiving today, taken from 1 Chronicles 29:10-13:

David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation:
Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father
from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
the kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you,
praising your splendid Name. (1 Chronicles 29:10-13, The Message)

What a beautiful reminder that everything we see in the universe, everything we have, everything we are, and everything we can be, belongs to God and is a gift from Him to us.

I try to live my life with an attitude of gratitude every day, not just Thanksgiving Day, thanking God for the gifts He’s given me.  What about you?

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What’s Your Source for Direction in Life?

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. Here’s why.

No matter who you are, where you go or what you do, there will always be someone offering you direction and giving suggestions on how to live your life and spend your money.

Parents, friends, bosses, coworkers, Hair stylists, bar tenders, marketers, and advertisers all get in on the game at one time or another.  Even bloggers (gasp!) like me. 😉

Of course, the all-important question is this:  Which voices should you listen to?

Because if you listen to the wrong ones and follow the wrong advice, you could end up seriously off track – nowhere close to achieving your goals and dreams.

Proverbs 11:14 offers some guidance on the subject:

Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

So, what is “good direction” and where do you get it?  And what is “wise counsel” and how do you find it? [Read more…]

You’re Blessed…Even When Bad Things Happen to You

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. Here’s why.

Last week, a friend treated my family to a wonderful six day, five night holiday at their cottage on a lake.  We all had an incredibly relaxing and fun time and agreed it was our best family activity of the year.

The highlight of our week happened on the second-to-last day, when someone living in a neighboring cottage invited us to use their jet ski to give our kids rides around the lake.  This was a total surprise, and a wonderful blessing to cap off an already blessed week.

When we returned home last Friday, we discovered that someone had broken into our house while we were gone and had stolen two computers, an iPod, and my kids’ wallets and money.

Immediately, we realized the irony of the situation:  While we were enjoying the best week of our year as a family, and enjoyed the blessing of the free use of a cottage on a lake and free jet ski rides, our house was being broken into, our stuff stolen and our lives violated.

What had been the very best week of our year had now become our worst. [Read more…]