Sunday 16 September 2012


Recently I met Jane, a young church member, who was overworked and stressed. While her friends were involved in church activities and social work, she could not muster the time or strength to join them.

As if the volume and complexity of work she had to cope with wasn’t bad enough, the gnawing guilt that she could not do “God’s work”, like the others, added to the pressure.

She felt she was just existing day by day — life had little meaning.  She had to brave the traffic jams early in the morning and then hit the sack only late at night after finishing her work, which she had to bring home. And then another day; the cycle began. She felt like a cog in the wheel of her employer’s company, which churned out profits at her expense. For she felt grossly overworked and underpaid.

Well, this is not just one isolated case. It might well reflect the situation in the real world out there — where young graduates are forced to handle more than what they have been trained for in university. Truth be told, what we learn through formal education often does not meet industry needs. Indeed, the learning curve is steep for new job entrants.

This situation worsens if their company does not have an effective training programme to prepare them to face the realities of workplace demands. If there are no sensitive and capable coworkers (or seniors) who can help them adapt to the working world, the adjustment period becomes even more taxing.

There are no easy answers for workers such as Jane. But being dependent on God and crying out to Him is the first step. They need to ask God to give them more strength and wisdom, that He might enlarge their capacity to face workplace demands.

You bless all who depend on you for their strength and all who deeply desire to visit your temple. When they reach Dry Valley, springs start flowing and the autumn rain fills it with pools of water” (Psalm 84:5-6).

My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking” (James 1:2-5).

Then, a proper understanding of their calling is also important. * They should not feel guilty that they have no chance to participate in “God’s work” like their friends. This is just a phase in their lives when they have to adjust to a new environment. It is a time to acquire new skills and knowledge, a place to learn about discipline which will stand them in good stead later — whether they are in ministry or the marketplace.

For some, God may be calling them to switch to another company in the same field (or another field). Others may feel called to “full-time ministry.

If they have an intimate relationship with Him, they will come to know God’s will — God will confide in them, treating them as friends (John 15:15, Psalms 25:14).

Related post:
When we come to a fork or crossroad in life, we know we need guidance.
How can we know God’s will for our lives?


Marketplace believers need to embrace their “calling” positively.

First, the sanctity of work needs to be rediscovered. Adam was given the task of tending the garden and subduing the earth even before he fell into sin. Work was not a curse in the beginning. It became a curse only after Adam sinned – “out of the sweat of your brow” you shall earn a living.

Embracing a positive work culture includes working heartily “as unto God” and not out of eye-service when the boss is around, going the second mile, demonstrating calmness amidst distress, pursuing excellence, always finding ways to improve the system and living a life of integrity.

When we shine like lights in the workplace, our colleagues and superiors will be wondering what it is that makes us tick. This might then be an occasion for verbal witness.

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