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Helping & Loving Others

How One Man Found Extraordinary Purpose in An Ordinary Job

Doug Bender

August 04, 2020 | 3 minute read

Tom Haverford (played by Aziz Ansari) spends six seasons in the hit show Parks and Recreation hating his job and finding ever increasingly sly ways of getting out of doing any real work. But then he finds an investor willing to back him in starting a business. But what kind of business should he start? The ever straight-laced and practical Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott), has an idea: a dry cleaning transactional holding company. It’s literally the most boring job the writers of the show could come up with. It was sure to make money, but equally sure to bore Tom out of his mind.

Meet my friend John Richard. He runs a car wash transactional holding company. He sells chemicals to car wash businesses and fixes their equipment. And contrary to what Parks and Recreation would have you believe, he has proven that you can love even the most boring sounding jobs.

“How do I find a job that I don’t hate?”

“How do I figure out what I’m really passionate about?

“What job has God designed me to do?”

If you’ve found yourself asking these questions then John has some answers. It starts with how he even describes what he does:

“What we do is we enable other people to make the world a more beautiful place.”

When Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth he told his followers that he didn’t come “to be served but to serve.” As beings created to resemble the Son of God, we too are designed to serve. Service is a required ingredient to our happiness.

John has learned that one of the secrets of loving his job is aligning himself with this principle. He doesn’t just sell chemicals and fix car wash equipment, he is serving business owners. Have you figured out how you are serving and helping others at your job? Seeing how you are serving others will make all the difference in finding extraordinary purpose in your ordinary job.

Another secret to loving your job? Learn to be great at doing some of the simple things that make our world work.

“When kids are growing up,” John describes, “they don’t say they want to do most of the random jobs that our world runs on. But there can only be so many doctors and firemen. As you get into these normal like jobs, you can get really good at them. You might be just a tax accountant, but if you get good at that, you might be able to bust out 50 tax forms in the time it takes a normal person to do one. You can really help people with that skill! Maybe God really created you to be a tax accountant.”

Rather than getting the job that he loved, John found joy in being great at the one he has. Like most of us, John never grew up thinking he’d be doing the job he’s now doing.

“I always loved cars, but when I dreamed about what I might do,” John says, “I thought I’d be a race car driver. I never even really went to professional car washes. So this is absolutely outside what I imagined I would be doing.”

But like every adult, eventually you have to get a job, pay the bills, and grow up. He asked God what his purpose was for him in this job.

“When I really thought and prayed about why God has me doing what I’m doing, I thought of missionaries, people who go to another country to share Jesus. They often have to go as a business person when it’s a country that doesn’t want people talking about Jesus. So they go to these other places and start a coffee shop or an English school and they use that to tell people about Jesus.”

“I realized that’s what I can do right here. When I see one of my manager clients having a hard day, I can be there for them. I had one guy who had someone in their life murdered, and I could bring the good news of Jesus to him in that moment.”

Not only has John found a way to view work as an outlet to helping people in need, he also sees himself as messenger for God. He is bringing the good news of Jesus to people.

“There is something greater that I’m really working towards. It’s what gives me purpose and meaning. I know this is my calling.”

The world is a strange and crazy place right now. Elections coming up, virus everywhere, even Major League Baseball seems unsure. People are on edge. But John sees that God has positioned him to be a source of light in dark times.

“With everything that’s going on right now in the world,” John says. “ I’m tempted to lose faith in humanity. But this is when people need to be loved on and encouraged, not argued with. To be able to go out and do that for people is huge.”

So whatever your job, no matter how boring it might sound, remember that God doesn’t just appoint priests and missionaries, he also appoints tax accountants and car wash transactional holding company owners. If you can change how you view your work, you might just see that God has you exactly where he’s designed you to be.

 
Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at iamsecond.com and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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