8 Things To Do When Your Work Feels Meaningless

My full-time job is in the education sector as an IT Specialist. Most days I enjoy it.

Then there are other days.

Peasap (CC)

Days where I wonder, How many more printers can I fix? How much software can I install? It all seems so meaningless. I'd rather be talking to God, or spending time with my family, or fulfilling my calling.

Then God reminds me of His Son.

Why Waiting is Normal

Do you ever wonder what Jesus was doing all those years before John baptized Him? I do.

Scripture tells us that Jesus was 30-years-old when He began His ministry (Luk. 3:23). That seems like a long time to wait.

Can you imagine what it must have been like being the very son of God, having the anointing of Simeon, Anna, Gabriel, and yet having to spend your days—wait for it—as a carpenter?

I don't know if Jesus was omniscient or not, but he surely knew His calling. And yet the King of kings had to work a menial job. And He had to wait.

Waiting is normal, and that makes me feel so much better.

What Jesus Was Really Doing

But Jesus wasn't just waiting. He was preparing.

While we don't know exactly how Jesus spent His time prior to ministry, Luke gives us a brief glimpse:

[Jesus' parents] found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. . .

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” . . . Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. . . And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
2:46-47, 49-52

There are some hints here which can help us out. And even if you don't know your calling, take Jesus' lead and do these eight things in anticipation of that call.

1. Talk it Out

The scriptures don't specifically say that Jesus prayed before His ministry began, but I'll go out on a limb on this one.

You must talk to God continually. It is imperative when you're frustrated with our work (and when you're not). If you feel that your job is meaningless, what better to do than to talk to the one who gives you meaning?

If you know your calling, constant contact is an imperative part of your preparation; God will direct your steps. If you don't know your calling, God will reveal it to you in your communication with Him.

2. Tether Yourself to Truth

Jesus "amazed" the teachers in the temple.

He did so in part by His intimate knowledge of scripture, a knowledge he demonstrated throughout His ministry by quoting it from memory.

Regular reading of God's Word will anchor you to a foundation of truth, and help prevent you from going off course (which is easy to do).

3. Listen to Teachers

Notice that as a 12-year-old, Jesus didn't burst into the temple and begin arguing with the teachers. Instead he "asked questions." Jesus demonstrated humility and a genuine thirst for knowledge.

Who better to learn from than the masters? Seek out mentors in your field or people that you trust to guide you through the waters. They've been where you are.

4. Obey Authority

This is a tough one for me.

Jesus obeyed His parents when they pulled Him from the temple.

You know what I would've said? "I'm the son of God, Momma. I can do what I want!" (I was a very immature twelve-year-old.)

Respecting authority—like your boss—is hard to do, but it will pay dividends. You can't ever expect to be an authority without first learning how to yield to it.

5. Grow Up

All of the previous four culminate in this: through humility, respect, study and other disciplines, Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature." Some translations read "maturity" or "age" instead of stature (see: Biblehub). In short: He grew up.

Even if you are seventy-years-old, perhaps God is waiting for you to get one year older, wiser, or more mature before it is your time. Remember God's timing is not the same as man's.

6. Seek God's Favor

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please God." Jesus went about His life living by faith, and trusting that God would guide Him.

You must live by faith, believing that if God has called you to something that you will succeed (by His terms) if you are diligent.

Work might seem mundane, but trust that God has something in store for you.

7. Win Friends and Influence People

Maybe Dale Carnegie was just channeling Jesus:

The scripture says that Christ grew in favor with man.

I haven't read Mr. Carnegie's book, but I think the golden rule applies: treat people the way you want to be treated.

8. Work

You knew this one was coming, right?

Probably the worst thing you can imagine is to keep doing work that seems meaningless. But if you follow the other seven examples, you'll begin to realize that even if it seems pointless, God can turn it into fertile soil in which you will blossom.

Do you think Jesus ever made a crappy house?

If so, I'm sure it wasn't intentional. I bet He worked hard to do His best.

Stop making crappy widgets. Give it your all. So what if you're not where you want to be right now? So what if your work feels meaningless?

If you are faithful in the small things, God just might entrust you with big things.

God has called you to something even if you don't know what that is. Prepare accordingly.

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