This June I was blessed to spend a week at the Mark Centre with Steve Klassen and their team. While I was there, spending time praying and listening to what God was putting on my heart, I found myself surrounded by the question: “What is my work?” Not so much “What is my job?”, but rather, “What is at the root of everything I do, and what motivates me?” Or, “What makes me come alive?”
Steve and I enjoyed this quote from an old man from the back roads of Hat Creek California:
“A man’s never out of work if he’s worth a damn. It’s just sometimes he doesn’t get paid. I’ve gone unpaid my share and I’ve pulled my share of pay. But that’s got nothing to do with working. A man’s work is doing what he’s supposed to do, and that’s why he needs a catastrophe now and again to show him a bad turn isn’t the end, because a bad stroke never stops a good man’s work.” (Belden Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes).
During the school year I work for Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am one of the site leaders for OUTTATOWN –a gap year program where our students are guided in a journey towards knowing God, themselves, and the world in which we live. I enjoy my job at CMU as I travel across Canada, South Africa and Guatemala with 30 students at a time. I get to walk with them and disciple them as they live in a close community in different areas of the world.
Now, during the summer months I work as a framer, building houses. I enjoy the work and having good conversations with a very different demographic of people. I love being a light to those I find at job sites.
What God has opened my eyes to this week, is that there is a difference between my “work” and my “job”. Even though my job changes depending on the time of year, my work stays the same. My job with the framing business is to build houses – while I have found that my work is to be a light to those that I encounter throughout the day. My job with CMU is to facilitate a cross-cultural experience for my students, while my work is to disciple young adults in their walk with the Lord.
While I was at the Mark Centre Steve asked a missionary : “What is your work?”, the man answered very quickly: “My work is intimacy with the Father.” I think his answer is beautiful.
I love the line from the old man at Hat Creek: “A man’s work is doing what he is supposed to do…” I’m on a journey of discovering what I’m supposed to do – the work of my heart. And when I focus on nurturing intimacy with the Father, everything I do will be fed by this desire to honour the one who created me for His glory. And that makes me come alive!
Dear Brian, Thank you for sharing a part of your life. I too think “intimacy with the Father” is a beautiful answer to the question of work. To me intimacy includes understanding the Father. When people turn away from His love God experiences pain deeply. He created people to be in relationship with Him. To acknowledge God’s emotional pain is in my life’s work a part of being intimate with the Father. I look forward to the day when I will meet God. May God continue to bless you. Rose