Today we hear, or read—those of us who do read—that to be happy and productive in our jobs we have to “find our passion”. And if it’s not found in the job we have, then we are justified in continually changing jobs in search of it. In fact, such action is encouraged by experts in human happiness.
I’m convinced that this theory creates many unhappy and disgruntled workers. Not having experienced the unleashing of their elusive passion, they keep searching for it elsewhere and don’t find it. They go from passionless job to passionless job, where their performance is mediocre at best or unacceptable at worst—and they know it. Such an underperforming and restless worker is generally an unhappy one. And the sad thing is that searching for passion in a different job is largely a fruitless and discouraging search, so the unhappiness continues.
It reminds me of the farmer who sold his farm to search for oil elsewhere, but never found it. After many years of fruitless drilling, he returned to his old homestead and saw all kinds of oil derricks on the farm he had sold: he had been sitting all along on the oil he went to search for elsewhere. The obvious point is that the passion you are seeking elsewhere can be found and unleashed in the very job you now have!
Passion does not come from outside ourselves; it is already in us, and is released and experienced by workers who, in obedience to God’s command, give their all to the jobs God has given them. The command I’m talking about is the one that says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). No matter what job you’re in, this is a command you can passionately follow, just because the Lord is your boss and your work is his gift to you. When you do that, you’ll be amazed at how it generates not only more passion, but increased self-respect as well as career opportunities available only to those who are working at their top performance. Just the fact of doing so, out of a wholehearted desire to please the Lord and give quality service to others, creates passion.
Once awakened, this job passion opens up previously unthought-of opportunities. It causes a person to become creative and exercise initiative in looking for ways to excel, causing success that in turn feeds motivation and drive, leading to more passion and more success. Ultimately, just because you are fully exercising your gifts and strengths in what you are doing, your career path will conform to those gifts and strengths. All of the foregoing is the result of God’s blessing on the efforts of his hard-working followers. I have seen this borne out in others, and experienced the truth of it myself when I began to give all I had to the job I held, instead of adding more career changes to the many I had already undergone in the search for my passion.
We see a biblical example of the same thing in Joseph, who, having been sold into slavery, devoted all he had to the job that was not of his choosing, until before he knew it he was promoted to the running of Potiphar’s business affairs. Then, when he was falsely accused and found himself in jail, he again pitched in with all he had—and the next thing he knew, he was trusted to run the jail! The ultimate result of this passionate and wholehearted work effort was that he became the Prime Minister of Egypt, and ran the country.
What more evidence do we need? Whatever passion we want to see awakened must be awakened in the job God has given us now, be it as a sweeper, washroom cleaner, factory or office worker, homemaker, farmer, or business owner. Passionately give your all to whatever your hand finds to do, and you’ll experience even more passion as well as God’s blessing.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working
for the Lord, not for human masters. — Colossians 3:23
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. — Proverbs 18:9