Career Guidance for Baristas, Bankers, Fathers, and Friends
An under-employed 28-year-old man confides in you, “I’m bored and restless. What’s the formula for finding work that satisfies?” What do you say?
A hard-working-but-anxious man in his mid-30s asks you, “How can I make more money? I need to earn more money.” What do you say?
A father of pre-teens asks you, “How do I strike the right balance between work and family?” What do you say?
Join Patrick Morley for answers to these and many other questions on the minds of men in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s. The Bible is not thin on answers!
Verses referenced in this lesson:
Ecclesiastes 5:18-19; Proverbs 22:29, James 4:13-15
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Career Guidance for Baristas, Bankers,
Fathers and Friends
Hello, men. Getting a little ahead of things here, brother. Well, welcome to Man in the Mirror Bible study. And today we’re going to continue our series, Reconstructing Manhood. The message today is, Career Guidance for Baristas, Bankers, Fathers, and Friends. Before we get going, though, we always want to do a shout out and say hello to you guys who are joining us online all around the world. Thank you for being part of the Bible study. And I wonder if you guys here would join me in giving them a very warm rousing Man in the Mirror welcome on the count of 3. 1, 2, 3, hurrah. Welcome guys. We are glad. Hey, yeah, let’s give a big round of applause. Yeah. Today for the guys in Malaysia. How’s that?
WHAT’S THE FORMULA FOR WORK THAT SATISFIES?
Okay. First thing I want us to talk about is, what’s the formula for work that satisfies? Many men are confused and are not satisfied with their work. It doesn’t make them feel alive. It doesn’t make them feel happy. The statistics on this are like all over the board. You can find that about two thirds of people are not satisfied with their work in some surveys. And you can find in other surveys that two thirds of people are satisfied with their… I don’t know. One statistic and don’t hold me to this, because like I say, it’s a statis… yeah, right. Whatever. Is that 20% of, only 20%, of people are passionate about what they do. So about one in five. And I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but anyway, there is some serious lack of satisfaction.
So, what’s the formula for work that satisfies? Everybody that is passionate about what they do, they have a formula. Here’s the problem with these formulas? No two formulas are alike. I remember early in my career, I’ve made it my practice to go to lunch with older guys who were successful. I always asked them, what is your formula for success? And every single guy had a very, very firm idea in his mind about what it meant to be successful and how to be successful. And none of them had the exact same formula. But the point is, is that they were intentional and they did have a plan. So just out of curiosity, for you, what do you think are some of the factors that contribute to satisfaction at work? Just shout them out.
Do what you love doing.
Do what you love doing. Discipline, enjoyment. What else?
The people you work with.
The people you work with. One study I read said that 60% of people find satisfaction by having relationships with their coworkers. So the people you work with, it’s a great one. What else?
The environment, from the guy who works in the environmental field. What else?
Making the bottom line.
Making the bottom line? So another achievement? Is that it? Achievement, accomplishment, having a sense of, you’re part of something that is going somewhere, being part of a company that has a good mission statement was one of the things I read about. What else?
Teamwork. Okay. What else?
Being good at your job.
Sense of accomplishment. Okay. So you kind of get the feeling for what it is. Nobody said money. Money, of course, is like huge. A huge part of feeling satisfied with your work is making enough money so that you can feel comfortable to pay your bills. So there are lots of different formulas for success, but I’d like to suggest to you that the starting point for all of that is the perspective that we have, that you might have, that someone might have, someone that is in your family, that you’re talking to, a friend that you’re talking to is not as satisfied with their work as they might be or want to be, or anybody, you, it could be you, of course, as well.
I want to talk to you about what the Bible says about finding satisfaction in work. Now, the Bible is not thin on work. The Bible has so much to say about work. We’re going to look at three aspects of it today. And the first one is the idea of what satisfies. Let’s look at this scripture from Ecclesiastes, 5 verses 18 and 19. Solomon writes, “This is what I’ve observed to be good, that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun, during the few days of life God has given them.” That’s not as morose as it sounds, but that’s a different talk for a different day. “For this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions”, hit the pause button there. This is the vast majority of Americans. The poorest person in America is probably wealthy on a world standard.
“Moreover, when God gives some in wealth and possessions in the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil, this is a gift of God.” God has a desire for you to accept your lot in life and be happy in it. Now, in order to be able to accept your lot in life, you need to have a good theology of work, a viewpoint of work, or a perspective of work that aligns with God’s plan. If you can do God’s work God’s way, then you can find the satisfaction that he has for you. So the first thing, and we’re not going to go into the entire theology of work, but there are a couple of things that we should just check in on and make sure that we are aligned with the Bible because belief determines behavior. You’ve all heard me say that about a thousand times, belief determines behavior.
So if we want to have behavior that’s satisfying, we need to have alignment with our belief structure. So how do we get our heads right? Well, the first and probably the most important thing is to just understand that work, is it a blessing or is it a curse? We know that because of the fall that we must do our work while feeling the prick of thorns. So does that mean that work is a curse? The answer, I’d love to just string this out a little bit and make a big point, but so we can talk about other things this morning too, work was created before the fall and it was good. So work is a blessing that also has a curse. It’s not a curse that sometimes is a blessing. Work is a blessing. Every vocation is holy to the Lord.
How many of you have concordances on your Bibles? If you do, would somebody look up all the references in your Bible, to the word secular for me? Look up all the words, type in your search window, secular and then give me all the references to the word secular. Okay. I got a couple of guys doing that. While we’re doing that, there is intrinsic value in the work that you do.
I was talking to the service rep at the auto dealer one Friday afternoon when I was picking up my car and I’d been building a relationship with him for about three years. He looked a little down. So I said, how’s your week been going? And he kind of sighed, he shrugged his shoulder. And he said, well, it’s been a week. And then I said, well, at least you’re doing something that will make a difference in the history of the world. And he didn’t look at me like I was a nut. So I continued. I said, just imagine what would happen if you were not doing what you do. People are relying on you to hear their problems with their cars that are not working correctly, and then direct that car to the right mechanic, to get those problems fixed so that they can drive to work, to be to work on time so that they can earn the income that they need to pay their rent or their mortgage to pay their health insurance, to buy their groceries, to send their kids to school.
And also, that the mothers can drive the children to the soccer games and the afterschool activities. And so really just think about if you weren’t doing what you’re doing, the entire world would come to a screeching halt because people’s cars wouldn’t work. They wouldn’t be able to get them fixed and they would not have any transportation. They wouldn’t be able to pay their bills, and the whole world would be in chaos. He’s like, I never really thought about it like that before. But the idea is to understand there is intrinsic value. Can you imagine what a mess it would be if the people who were picking up your garbage, well, anybody who’s ever seen a garbage strike in New York city on the news knows what the problem would be. There is intrinsic value in every vocation. How many times is the word secular in your Bible?You couldn’t find it? Okay.
Secular, how many references? There’s like zero, right? Yeah. You could find it in yours. Why can’t you find the word secular in your Bible? Because there is no such thing as a secular job. Every vocation is holy to the Lord. This sacred secular distinction is fallacious. Plumber, preacher, same thing in the eyes of God. So this perspective on the holiness of vocation allows us then to understand that we doing work for God, not just for the people we are doing the work for. Here’s the Big Idea for the day. You will feel most happy, most alive and most useful when doing the work God created you to do, God’s way. You’re going to feel absolutely most happy, most satisfied, most alive, most useful when doing the work God created you to do God’s away. But it does take money to live our lives. And it’s pretty hard to be happy, alive, and useful when you don’t have enough money.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE ENOUGH MONEY?
So the second thing I want us to talk about this morning is, how can you make enough money? How can you make enough money? You have all the money you need to do everything God wants you to do. If you’re doing God’s work, God’s way, you have all the money you need to do everything God wants you to do. Now, money is a hand of providence. It’s not the hand of providence, but it is a hand of providence. And God uses a lack of money to help us change direction, to make decisions. So I said, you have all the money you need to do everything God wants you to do. But if you don’t have enough money to do everything God wants you to do, then that means that you’re either not doing what God wants you to do, or he wants you to make some kind of a change in what you are doing so that you will be doing the work his way.
There is a text in Proverbs, two, three of them I’m going to show you. But sometimes the way that God wants us to do his work, his way, it’s not that he necessarily wants us to change our vocation. Now it is possible you need to change your job. I mean, if you don’t like what you’re doing and you’re doing what I’m about to tell you, you should be doing and you still don’t like it. Get another job. Enjoy it. I won’t say this when we do the marriage talk.
So, maybe it’s education, the highest correlated factor that I saw to income in all the research I’ve been doing is education. So, that would be a one way, for example, you could improve your situation, get a skill. The overarching though, idea, from the scriptures I want to talk to you about is the idea of becoming a son of Proverbs. To become a son of Proverbs. The idea, belief determines behavior, it’s to become a son of Proverbs, is to be a man who lives by the principles in the book of Proverbs. Three examples. Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before Kings. The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. Be sure to know the condition of your flocks. Give careful attention to your herds. For riches do not endure forever.
When I was in my twenties, I went to a seminar and in the seminar, the speaker challenged everybody to read the book of Proverbs once a month, every month. He said there are 31 chapters in Proverbs. So roughly the number of days in a month. I was a young businessman and I wanted to succeed in business. And so I decided that I would take the challenge. And so for over 10 years, I read the book of Proverbs through once a month. Every day, I would read a chapter in the book of Proverbs. So Alex, see how many Proverbs I’ve underlined. Would you say that I’ve underlined more than I’ve left underlined?
Definitely, yeah. And I’ve memorized many of these. In fact, our son, when he was getting established in business, I was telling him about what I had done. And he said, well, could you text me one of those Proverbs every day?
So this morning, instead of getting ready to talk to you, I went through here and I counted up all the times that I had sent him one of these Proverbs because I put a date by each proverb. So I counted 147 different Proverbs. Now our son had asked me to communicate proverbs that were oriented towards business and making money. So diligence, industry, leadership, those kinds of Proverbs. This Bible is saturated with business knowledge, but it is highly condensed, highly distilled in the book of Proverbs. So I would encourage you, if you want to make more money, understand the principles in the book of Proverbs, or if you’re talking to someone who’s looking for advice on how to be more successful in business, tell them, okay, get a good theology of work and a good place to get it is in the book of Proverbs.
I read that through for over 10 years, once a month. And then I switched to reading the Bible through cover to cover once a year. So I’ve still read it through once a year. But the impact of that concentrated study, some of you know this. I actually had built one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies by the age of 35. I attributed about half of that to the book of Proverbs. Okay. The Big Idea today: You’re going to feel most happy, most alive and most useful when doing the work God created you to do, God’s way. And a great place to find that is the book of Proverbs. So there’s an idea. Then the tendency is that when you really throw yourself into work, what do you do? You get your work life balance out of whack.
HOW CAN YOU STRIKE THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
And so the final thing I want us to talk about, how can you strike the right work-life balance? One myth that is prevalent is that success means to have a dynamic career. That’s a myth. Success means to have a dynamic career. That’s so one dimensional. How many of you have pictures on your lock screen or your home screen of your iPhone? Let me see the picture that you got. Who’s that?
That’s your wife and your son? Awesome. How about you?
Oh, and your family there. Oh, that’s beautiful. Let me see those kids. Oh my gosh. You guys are so fortunate. Who else? Who else? Who else has got a picture on their lock screen or home screen? Let me see. Let me see. But he got?
Okay. What you got? Oh my gosh. What? Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful woman. I mean, you’re handsome, but that’s little out of your league.
Okay. So I have a question for you. Doesn’t anybody have a picture of your boss on your lock screen or your home screen? Listen, success is multi-dimensional. Work success is actually the kind of success that you can attribute to the people that probably, generally speaking, care about you the least. The people that care about you the most are the people in your family, the people that are going to be crying at your funeral. So a second myth is that, men say, well, I’m doing this for my family. I’m working this hard for my family. The interesting thing is, when I told my wife that, she said, you don’t understand. I’d be happy to live together with you in a pup tent. All I want us to do is to be together. So what I thought I was doing for my family, my family didn’t really care at all about.
One time at a seminar, I love this story, I was teaching on all of this and a young man called Jason came up to me after the event, after this particular message and he said, it’s so interesting you’re talking about this, because I wanted to build a better life for my family, just like you’re talking about. So I decided to start my own business. I started a trucking company. I bought a truck, one truck, and I do short hauls around town. I’m the only employee, but it’s my own business. And I did that because I wanted to build a better life for my family. So, the business was going to be the means to build a better life for my family. However, business started picking up and I found myself leaving the house every morning before sunup and getting home every night after dark. He said, one night my wife was putting our small child, Sean, to bed and Sean just sat upright in bed and said, mommy, where does daddy live?
So when he got home that night, his wife met him at the door and she told him a story. And at first he chuckled a little bit, but then he began to realize the impact of what he was doing. He’d started the business in order to build a better life for his family. But what has happened is he had gotten the wires mixed up and the ends and means had gotten mixed up. And so instead of building the business so that his family could have a better life, what was happening was, he said, he was using his family in order to create an opportunity for him to build a better business. Realizing the error of his way, he decided to make a change. It took him about two years to get his work life balance back in order. It can take a little time, but it’s worth it.
I know this from personal experience. When I got married, we came back from the honeymoon. I went off to work one morning and I didn’t come home for 13 years. Strike the right work-life balance by putting up some intentional boundaries. Some intentional boundaries. For me, I decided I would never work past six o’clock and I wouldn’t work weekends. And I never did, never have now. Well, that’s until I left business and then if you’re going to do ministry, you’re going to do some weekend work, right?
Some intentional boundaries. For example, another example, I teach and I have taught, and perhaps you’ve heard me say, of course we don’t use paper calendars anymore, but it’s a metaphor, put your business appointments in pencil and your family appointments in pen. Get it? Okay. Big idea for balance from the scriptures is this, “Now, listen, you who say”, this is from James chapter four. “Now, listen, you who say, today or tomorrow, we’re going to go to this city or that, and carry on business to make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow? What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, if it is God’s will, we will do this or that.” The idea of leading a more balanced life. Big Idea: You will feel most happy, most alive and most useful when doing God’s work, doing the God created you to do, God’s way.
Let’s pray. Our dearest father, thank you for your teachings and scripture on work. I pray that we would all be sons of Proverbs. I pray that we would all have a work-life balance that aligns with what we’ve just read in the book of James. And I pray God that we would all have that satisfaction that comes from accepting our lot in life and doing the work that you have created us to do. If we need to better ourselves, Lord, show us the way to get the education, to get the skill or to change the attitude that we have, where we are. We ask these things in your name, Jesus. Amen.