Employed by the two ‘great commandments’

Loving God and loving your neighbor: a full-time, rewarding job.

Years ago I remember reading a Sentinel with articles focusing on expressing God’s qualities in the arts. It impressed me greatly because I had finished a college degree as a graphic designer, but as of that time had not obtained a job in this field. I was very involved in church work in various ways and had a part-time job in a wholesale warehouse, which I’d had since college to help with expenses. 

After reading the Sentinel I remember being so moved by it that I turned to God. From the bottom of my heart I strongly desired to do whatever God wanted me to do, expressing whatever qualities He wanted me to use, wherever He wanted me to use them, to bless whomever He wanted me to bless. I didn’t think about it at the time, but more recently I realized that this prayer had had the elements in it of the “two great commandments” Jesus mentioned in the Bible. To love God with all of your heart and soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself (see Matt. 22:37, 39). 

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This type of prayer, which includes the desire to do God’s will, has always had positive results for me. Over the years, I have learned to also deny that any evil or error can interfere generally or specifically with God’s goodness for us, and to rejoice and be grateful for proofs of this goodness.

Soon after I’d prayed with humility, I was asked to do the graphics for a regional meeting of Christian Science churches in my area. About the time I was finishing that work, my brother’s employer asked me to do some graphics on a freelance basis. After doing this for several months, along with all of the other things I was already doing part time, I started praying about whether I should quit my warehouse job. I didn’t find an answer until one morning, while praying, I had the strong desire to give up the job to some other person who needed it more than me. That love of my fellow man, the second great commandment, was urging me on. 

After praying this prayer, I was overcome with a strong sense of God’s love. I didn’t exactly know the outcome, but I knew that God was bringing something good about. After being at work for a couple of hours, I received a call from my brother. He told me his boss wanted to see me after work. I went to his office, and he offered me a design job, which I accepted. The warehouse position was now open to another job seeker. And my design job lasted over twenty years.

God, Spirit, doesn’t really know about human jobs. He does know about loving our fellow man, though.

An error that sometimes tried to fool me into not accepting God’s goodness was outlining what the result of my prayers should be. Before I had the warehouse job, I did yard work for people I knew. It was rewarding, but it really wasn’t meeting my growing monetary needs. I prayed. A little while later a friend told me of the warehouse position. I thought about it, but didn’t think it was to my liking. He saw me a week later and told me that he had recommended me to his boss. The boss was wondering why I had not come in to talk to him. Again, I prayed, and decided that maybe I was “outlining” when I should be open to investigating. I went and talked to the supervisor and he offered me the job, (even though I thought I had said everything wrong during the interview.) I accepted the job. It wasn’t glamorous, or directly related to my design studies, but it turned out to be a growing experience for me, and the right job at the right time.

One of the natural benefits of desiring to express God’s qualities to our fellow man is that it keeps us from wanting to “get” something. If we are trying to get something, we are viewing ourselves as lacking mortals rather than the beloved expressions of God. Offhand, I don’t remember ever having a prayer answered when I was trying to get something. God, Spirit, doesn’t really know about human jobs. He does know about loving our fellow man, though. Isn’t a job just an opportunity to express God’s qualities, to love our fellow man?

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy brings a spiritual sense to a Bible passage from Ecclesiastes 12:13. She writes, “. . . love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness” (p. 340). The whole of man. In other words to love God and our fellow man is our very identity, our purpose. You might say it is our employment.

We love God and our fellow man by expressing His love every time we take out the trash, dust the furniture, wash the laundry or the dishes. And outside the home, every time we volunteer at church, the animal shelter, the library, or community center, aren’t we employed by God’s love to bless our fellow man? Every time we express honesty, kindness, generosity, grace, or joy to someone, we are employed by God. So, expressing God’s qualities at a paid job is just one of the many ways God employs us.

I like to think of God as the only employer, not just for me, but for everyone. The fact is that we have been employed by God forever, and always will be. We can’t be unemployed, fired, or replaced when we’re employed by God. God will always supply opportunities to express His qualities to bless our fellow man, and see to it that our needs are met. This employment doesn’t come and go with a good or bad economy, but is constant. There isn’t anyone too young or too old for this employment of loving God and our fellow man, nor too inexperienced or over-experienced. There is no quitting, or retiring from it either. 

Thoughts on being fruitful
October 24, 2011

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