How the essence of work and society are being eroded
By Brett Johnson
December 2021. I had no idea work itself would be under attack in 2021 (going into 2022) when I worked on two books about work. We are on the knife-edge of a complex issue that could turn out well, or it could be a disaster. “The Great Resignation” – how quickly the labels stick. A Microsoft survey indicated over 40% of employees want to quit. The national numbers are evidently bigger. But why are people resigning in droves, and what are they resigning from? Is this a pandemic-induced-wakeup moment for society about priorities and meaning, or are government handouts an opiate causing lethargy and dependence? The answers are complex.
Some are ditching dead-end jobs and taking on more meaningful work like the single mother with three children who was terminated when the pandemic closed the restaurant where she worked. Through a cousin she learned about a...
Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all.
Psalm 104 is wonderful in its description of the whole of creation, rightly sweeping it under the domain of God… clouds, springs, mountains, moon and sun, lions.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man,
“Let us make every effort to enter that rest
so that no one will fall by following their example
of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11
South San Francisco has many small hills and winding roads. Clearly I was directionally challenged as I tried to find the small home where the social event was happening. A pre-smart-phone passenger suggested we use a map. I replied, “Who needs a map when you have a full tank of gas?” At <40 it seemed a smart, perhaps even a pioneering-sounding statement; 35 years later it sounds dumb. I am aware most days that I have less time and energy than I did back then, and the days don’t seem to get longer nor the gas tank bigger.
Which takes me back to Hebrews chapter 4. Whoever wrote the book of Hebrews was acutely aware that some people got the whole Jesus thing, and others missed what was under their noses. “God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail...
Man is made in the image of his/her Creator. Our Creator is a worker. Without his work, we would not exist. Without the things He created, we would not know what He is like. Before a book was written, His divine attributes and nature were visible through His work. The old Quaker saying says, "Work is love made visible" is true. Work is worship (it is the same word in the Hebrew).
However, sin did mess work up: it became a sweaty drudgery, the ground and sky and sea not co-operating as it had done before. Then came the 2nd Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. He redeemed many things, including our work so that we can, from here on out, work with him in a divine-human collaborative.
Amazing! Discovering work as God designed it is key to Convergence.
Find your passion, then work will be easy! Or, as many a NextGen-ers have said, "If only someone would pay me to do what I am passionate about!"
The problem is, Ms. Millennial, next month your passion (about which you are convinced today) will have changed. Human trafficking will be out of vogue, and the pink-striped salamander will need saving.
Work is work. Sometimes it is inspired, but after the inspiration comes the perspiration. I have written many books, and I love the process... and I hate it. Sometimes it is like wading a swamp, other times like soaring with eagles. If passion--and, by that you mean, feeling constantly excited and uber amped--is your guiding light, you will end up chasing fireflies down a winding path that goes nowhere.
Purpose trumps passion; obedience is bigger than both.
The idea behind "success to significance" is good, and it is bad. The good part is simple: people can realize there is more to life than just being successful. We were made for something more.
If, however, we make a pursuit of significance, we fall into an equal and opposite error, for anything that is pursued before God becomes an idol.
Another bad outworking of "success to significance" is that it opens the possibility of dualistic thinking, where these are two different tracks. The net result is fragmentation, and
“Fragmentation decreases our ability to comprehend truth and make sense of life. This is why satan uses compartmentalisation as part of his strategy to “steal, kill and destroy” thereby reducing our ability to experience the God who is One.” - Brett Johnson