Finding faith, meaning in the workplace

By  Darryl Wilson, Youth Speak News
  • June 29, 2009
Faith plays a central role in a lot of the decisions we make, including our career choices. Common questions we ask might include, “What brings meaning to my life?” or “What is God’s purpose for me on this Earth?”

Many youth want a job that enables them to live out their faith on a daily basis. But the challenge is not in finding a job that lets you live your faith but rather in enabling yourself to live your faith in any job. Ever since I graduated from high school, I have worked in a number of different jobs that have provided me with many experiences and growing pains. What I discovered along the way is that I like to help people and in doing so, I developed myself as a servant leader.

So what does servant leadership have to do with faith?

Jesus taught His disciples that whoever wants to become great must be their servant and that whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. In Mark 10:45, it is written that, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

How do I fit this model of servant leadership into the workplace? As a former youth minister, living my faith in this job was a joy. I was able to serve God and serve youth as I introduced them to their faith. It’s easy to talk about faith when people are seeking it. I could live it openly and honestly because my peers shared it with me.

But that doesn’t mean we need to work in the church or become nuns or priests in order to live our faith on a daily basis. Let’s fast forward to my most recent job as a front office manager in a hotel. It’s a secular environment with people of varying beliefs and opinions. It’s not a place appropriate to openly express one’s views. So how do I bring my faith into this job? Well, that’s where servant leadership comes in. Working in a hotel is all about hospitality, it’s about serving others whether it be guests or employees. Often there are challenges in the workplace where I really need my faith to help me be patient, to motivate me or to inspire others. In modelling my faith at work in my service to others, I am able to share it with non-believers in an indirect way.

We are all called to bring people to Christ. I know when people see my positive attitude at work or my ability to be patient at the most trying of times, they wonder, what does he have that I don’t? This is the start of their search for meaning and when they ask me my secret, I introduce them to my little friend named “faith.”

Lots of youth have asked me what they should do for a job. Many bring a list of demands where they want weekends off, high pay, benefits, etc. All I say to them is to pick a path that you’re passionate about and that you love because at the end of the day, goals give life purpose but love gives life meaning.

(Wilson, 24, studies tourism management at Camosun College in Victoria.)

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