Can Meaningful Work Truly Be Found?

By Hugh Whelchel

Research done in 2014 by the Barna Group shows that 75% of U.S. adults say they are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. Only 19% of adults say they’re extremely satisfied with their current work.

We All Dream of Finding Meaningful Work

The desire to find meaning in our work is important across all age groups. Many people in their 40s and 50s are leaving their occupations for what they perceive to be more important, meaningful jobs.

Twenty-somethings currently entering the job market are particularly interested in work that will make a difference to them and society. They are looking for work that expresses their identity and lets them creatively use their talents to help others. They believe this type of work is to be found, for the most part, in the NGO/nonprofit world.

Even in Christian circles there still persists a belief that some jobs have more meaning because these jobs are more important to God.

The Trick Question

Everyone wants to be involved in some kind of “meaningful” work. The question is: “Meaningful to whom? You or the end user?”

For Christians, this is a trick question.

For the Christian, life without work is meaningless, but work must never become the meaning of one’s life. We must find our identity in Christ, not in our work.

Our union with Christ transforms our hearts and gives us the desire to serve him out of gratitude as we engage the world through our work.

We Find Meaning in Our Work by Working Toward Biblical Flourishing

Scripture makes it clear: The goal of our work is not to find personal meaning, but to serve God by serving others in a way that brings about biblical flourishing.

When you’re looking for meaningful work for your own sake, it will be difficult to find.

But when we use our skills and talents to accomplish the work God intended us to do (Eph. 2:10), our work takes on tremendous meaning.

We think our specific, individual work can’t be meaningful because it seems so insignificant. We see the bigger picture when our work is combined with the work of others.

No Work Is Insignificant

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Our dreams of finding meaningful work can be fulfilled, for no work is insignificant when done for the glory of God and in service to others for the sake of biblical flourishing.

This article has been adapted and published with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics. The original article appears here (bit.ly/FindingMeaningfulWork) Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribe to subscribe to the free IFWE Daily Blog.

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