Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Spiritual Aspect of Good Work

At my other blog, I wrote a post about what makes work good and useful and beautiful--or at least, I wrote about seeing a variety of reading materials that has me thinking in that direction.

One absence that I see in all the things I've been reading is the spiritual dimension. In some ways, these articles are talking about the same issues that theologians have been discussing for many years; to paraphrase Jesus, "What good is it to have all this job satisfaction if we lose our souls?" But it would be interesting to read a book that directly addresses the question of whether or not we're all talking about the same thing, whether we use secular language or God-soaked language.

I've always wondered if I'm doing what God put me on earth to do. I have friends who scoff at that notion of Divine purpose. On the other hand, I've known plenty of people like my parents, who believe that God doesn't have your life mapped out when you're born, but does have an abiding interest in the choices that you make. My dad has always said that God can use you, no matter where you are. He used the metaphor (which he got from a book, and I'll find out which one and reference it later) of God as a weaver. No matter what color wool you are, God has the big picture and can weave you right in.

Part of me thinks that this idea of job satisfaction is fairly recent to the human condition. At what point did we think that our jobs would make us fulfilled. A few generations ago, most of our relatives would have been happy for jobs that put food on the table. They'd have turned to other activities for self-actualization (and they wouldn't have used a fancy term like that).

Nothing like a good economic downturn to bring out interesting things to read. As for these thoughts of a purpose driven life (and yes, I've read that book, and didn't find it as useful as others have, although I have a lot of respect for Rick Warren), I've been wrestling with them since adolescence, and I expect I'll still be wrestling with them on my death bed.

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