Gainful Employment


How do you view work and gainful employment? Is your job all about climbing the ladder? Have you considered helping His purposes and will be done?

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

I’ve been thinking about this verse and I think a lot of us have got it backwards. We see the bumper sticker, ‘He who dies with the most toys wins’ and we laugh and make fun, but the reality is, many of us are living our lives and making decisions based on that statement.

Wikipedia defines gainful employment as a situation where the employee receives consistent work and payment from an employer. I wonder exactly if that is how Christians should define our ‘gainful employment’.

Why do we get up and go to work? To make money (which face it, we all need in order to have a place to sleep and food to eat) . . . this is not a bad thing. But should that be our only motivation? Are we to clock in, work hard, and clock out? Or are we called to do and be something more?

Paul understood that he was not just called to share The Way when scheduled to preach but also when he made tents. His very existence was to call people to a fuller life in Christ at all times. Lately, I’m beginning to understand that my purpose at work is not just to find the bottom on my inbox and earn a pension, but to be reaching out beyond my cubicle.

To live is Christ. That should be the first thought in the morning and our measuring stick when we go to bed. What have we done to help His purposes today? 

To die is gain. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That is a huge gain! And oh the joy if we’ve done our part to scatter some seeds that bring souls to Christ . . . they will join us! What a bonus that will be!

As I am muddling my way through midlife, my job is becoming less and less about the pay check and climbing the ladder, but more and more about redeeming the time. I have had it wrong for so long . . . oh that I may get it right and finish strong . . . and with empty hands.

Father, forgive us for getting it wrong. Forgive us for being such temporal thinkers and striving to gather stuff instead of Your harvest. Help us to open our hands and release the things we hold dear when we should be clinging to You. Holy Spirit grab hold of our hearts today that we could truly say that this day we have lived for Christ and His gain, not our earthly pleasures. In Your name, Amen.

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