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Don't Quit Your Day Job: The 5-Fold Purpose of Work

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: Don't Quit Your Day Job: The 5-Fold Purpose of Work

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Don't Quit Your Day Job: The 5-Fold Purpose of Work

Photo Credit: Creative Commons edits by Dayna Bickham 

Work Stinks


When I was a kid, I bought into that lie that we all do at one point or another: "When I grow up I am going to do what I want to do, and nothing else!" 

Then we find out that doing what you want costs money, or conflicts with something else and reality begins to set in. The truth is work stinks and it is not always fun. 

Some of us have gotten "What do you want to be when you grow up" mixed up with what I should do until my dreams become reality. 

The answer will always be work. 

We have to put our hand to the plow and not look back. In work, whether it is for a family business, a corporation or somewhere in between, we grow and learn and change. Working matures us. Sticking to the job when we don't want to stretches us. 


"Committing to certain things- a job, a wife, a calling- has taught me a lot about character and integrity  discipline and honor. There's something about the process of giving up on other possibilities and sticking to a path that brings life in ways that other thrills do not. And I'm a better man for it, no matter how much I kick and scream along the way." 

More Than A Paycheck

There is a purpose to work besides putting money into your pocket. Work teaches us and develops us. Here are a few ways it does this: 

  • We Learn Commitment - stick-to-it-ness. We learn the value of hanging in there when the going gets tough and we glean the benefits of coming out on the other side. 

  • Work Develops Character- Doing what you said you would do is not always as easy as it sounds. In today's society we often flake out because we heard "just follow your heart" too often. Our heart should not be dictating our actions, but what God says, and He said "Let your yes be yes and your no be no." 

  • We Develop Skills- Work strengthens skills you already have and teaches you new skills. Sometimes our dreams require more of us than we can bring to the table. That was the case with Joseph. He was a spoiled kid in his father's house, but after serving Potiphar, and then becoming a leader in prison, then he was ready to lead a nation through a drought and save his family. Then his dreams could come to pass. 

  • Work Hones Your Focus. If you want to know more about who you are, get dirty. Work, the sweat of our brow actually tells us more about our strengths and weaknesses. It builds us up as people of character and makes us focus on things by forcing us to prioritize. We get rid of the fluff and take care of the stuff that matters.  Tweet That 

  • Work Opens Doors- Opportunities we never thought we would have, or chances to do things we never dreamed may just come as fruits of our labor. Without putting our hand to the plow and just doing our everyday work, we would not get the benefit of opportunities. Do not think less of your job because it is not the one you wanted at first. Do not despise your small beginning, because you never know where it might lead.  

The Purpose of Work


Work prepares you for more. In my book, The Purpose of Chosen I talk about this very thing. We have been chosen for a purpose, but that does not mean our skills dictate what that purpose is. Instead our purpose dictates what skills we should be learning. The calling is never after the gift, the gift always comes second. Preparation for your purpose may be in the mission field, or your home church, or it may be like Joseph- in prison. Where ever you are, put your hand to the plow. Do the work. It will prepare you for more, and it will make reaching your goals and dreams that much sweeter! 


Join the Conversation

What are some lessons you have learned through work? 

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