Our vocation is for this time and place. Our work life is to be not just a job or career but an integral part of our Father’s creative and sanctifying work. It takes grace and ingenuity to take the job we currently have and recreate it.
One example comes from a Yale study on job crafting and looks at the cleaning crew in a university hospital. While many of these workers viewed their job as mundane and even demeaning, others saw it as valuable and rewarding. For them, cleaning hospital rooms was a calling.
One room housed a comatose patient in rehab waiting to emerge from a coma. Each time a particular worker cleaned the patient’s room, she’d take down all the framed paintings and rearrange them. She hoped moving them would spark something, speeding up the patient’s recovery. “It’s not part of my job,” she explained, “but it’s a part of me.”
She described herself as a healer because she creates safe, sterile spaces where patients can heal. She, along with like-minded coworkers, had creatively expanded their roles. Crafting their jobs provided them greater meaning and purpose. But, their personal satisfaction wasn’t the end they were after; it was the outcome of doing something of value to individuals and society.
There are three particular ways to craft our jobs, adapting the tasks we perform, the relationships we have with workers and customers, and the way we think about our work. The Christian perspective of work has the greatest and most resilient impact in an ever-changing economy.
These discoveries by Yale researchers are not new; they are as old as God’s creation. As we become adept at cultivating our vocation, we can use job crafting to draw others into the work of the kingdom, further aligning them to their own created purpose. How we do that will be specific to our situations and take a little creativity. But then, creativity has always been a big part of our Father’s work.