Archive for May 15, 2015

May 15

Commencement and Contentment, Joblessness and Joy

2015 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

This time each year, many among us are graduating from something: from a grade, from high school, or from college.

But while the path through school is often predictable and well worn, the path to a job is not always so predictable. Not in every way, but in some ways the experience of going through school is insulated from the economic pressures of the changing world around us. If we work hard—sometimes very hard, depending on the degree, our own abilities, and our other obligations—and play by the rules we’ll likely come out the other side with something to show for it. But finding and keeping a job can be quite different.

For those who have lost a job or who are looking for a job, two articles hit the web this week on the occasion of commencement. The articles address graduates, but I’m highlighting paragraphs specifically suited to those who are struggling in their search for work. Of course, the entire articles are worth your time.

The Joy of Graduation and the Crisis of Joblessness,” by Marshall Segal

If you’re feeling discouraged and abandoned by God while looking for work, you have a friend in the apostle Paul. He also experienced an intense period of hopelessness and despair. He writes, “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9).

Now, Paul was facing death, not joblessness. So the differences are real, but the principle is the same. God intends for our neediness to bring us to our knees. A good Father would never watch his kids suffer for the sake of suffering. He might wait to rescue them, though, if he knew it would eventually bring them a better and longer lasting peace, strength, and joy. We all desperately need to learn the futility of self-reliance and the reward of relying wholly on God. Go to him with your questions, your restlessness, and your heartache.

Dear Graduates, a Glorious Commencement Awaits,” Bethany Jenkins

The key to surviving disillusionment, I said, is found in accepting God’s providential care. As Proverbs 30 says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (vv. 8-9). The secret to contentment, in other words, is found in seeking God’s face, not our hands. It trusts the Planner, not the plans.

Commencement is a beginning. It launches graduates into “the real world,” which is full of disconnects that breed disillusionment—beauty and brokenness, debt and riches, joy and suffering. In this age, it will always be the best of times and the worst of times.

For more on the topic of faith and work, swing by The Gospel Coalition’s Faith and Work channel. For good print resources on the topic of vocation, swing by the Book Nook for a copy of Greg Gilbert’s, The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs,  or Kevin DeYoung’s, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will or How to Make a Decision without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.