It’s time to engage problems and opportunities with a new sense of purpose
- Find deeper purpose and meaning in your work and see its spiritual connection.
- Cultivate the character strengths like courage, integrity, and compassion you need to lead in a time of uncertainty.
- Overcome work-related problems like stress, burnout, and interpersonal conflict.
- Adopt short spiritual practices that help you relax, turn your attention toward God, and focus on the work at hand with new energy.
- Understand how your work contributes to the greater good and the well-being of other people.
- See how the values you bring to your work can encourage the teamwork essential for success.
- Learn what the Bible actually says about your work’s positive value and its contribution to human flourishing.
Your work is important for yourself, your family, your coworkers, and society as a whole. Finding its sacred meaning will help you work with a new sense of purpose.
Much of the impetus for writing this book grew out of my interviews and discussions with people over ten years. Most of these were with church members who do paid work outside the church; the focus was on the connection between their work and their faith or spirituality.
Opinions varied greatly. This was natural, given the wide range of views about work and faith. One tendency, however, showed up more often than I would have liked.
I believe that most work makes an important contribution to the greater good and the well-being of others, but too many people do not fully appreciate the contribution of their own work. I am especially sensitive to this because I believe it is important for people to know that what they are doing is appreciated and has significant value.
The truth is that a great many goods and services are needed to build and maintain a flourishing society; through our work, we serve other people and the greater good in many different ways. This includes those who produce food and other goods, construction workers, distributors and retailers, writers and other communicators, people who care for others, homemakers, accountants and lawyers, maintenance workers, administrators and advisors of a great many kinds, entrepreneurs, and many other occupations, paid and unpaid.
If we are part of a religious tradition, then I believe it should help us think about our work and its contribution. Sometimes it does, but not always. Most of us understand that our religion teaches us to love our neighbors and to act with integrity. But it should also help us see and appreciate how our work contributes to the well-being of others, whether customers, coworkers, suppliers, or the people who depend on us for support. Our work has the potential to contribute to the flourishing of society, and this should have religious and spiritual significance.
A main purpose of The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work is to help people see this significance. This, I believe, will help them engage problems and opportunities in their work lives with a new sense of purpose.
Adapted from The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work, copyright 2023 by Robert H. Tribken, faithandenterprise.org.