Wednesday 4 April 2012

Leroy Barber on Life-Giving Work

Leroy Barber, ‘You Don’t Have to Quit to Find Life-Giving Work’, Christianity Today (2 April 2012).

Christianity Today carries a brief excerpt from Leroy Barber’s forthcoming book, Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World (Downers Grove: IVP, 2012), making the point that ‘even if you don’t like your job, you have a calling to serve God and others’.

I’ve been reading quite a bit on work and vocation recently, so I suspect this book will be added to that pile, even if I might want to say some things a little bit differently.

He writes that a job ‘is simply the task we do to get paid’.

Calling, however, is different:

‘Calling inspires a deeper commitment to your work. Calling pushes a person to ask significant questions about what they do with their lives – questions such as Who am I? What are my gifts and talents? How is my life being shaped by this work? What life would remaining in this work make impossible for me? Calling pushes us deeper into ourselves when choosing a college, or taking an internship. It doesn’t allow us to jump at every opportunity simply because it pays more. We take personal responsibility about our life direction and choices.’

He illustrates this by telling a story about his friend Rob whose ‘simple job transformed into a calling to help people’ and ‘created an environment where others could experience grace and perhaps see their contribution as important’.

‘Life-giving work is available to all of us. But we must alter our primary question from “How much money can I make?” Instead, we must explore those areas where we can serve. How can I take what I am doing, what I believe I was made to do, or what I feel God may be calling me to do, and turn it over to God? In this offering, we can count on him to transform our offering into something extraordinary. We must let God use our lives to change the world, draw people to him, and offer hope in desperate situations. That calling brings excitement, engagement and much more motivation than money can provide.’

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