March 20, 2008

Good Friday

This is a stressful time on campus as students who are about to graduate contemplate their futures. There is always anxiety about getting a job or getting into graduate school – making the right decision. I think it is very hard not to sell out. Many of the students I know leave school with huge amounts of debt, and it is tempting to take the job that will pay off the fastest, no matter what it is. But that path of least resistance is often not the path of faithfulness, and perhaps it has always been so:

Then there was the nameless carpenter who made the cross. He was a skilled workman. He knew full well what the purpose of that cross was. If you questioned him he probably would have said: “But I am a poor man who must make a living. If other men use it for ill, is it my fault?” So say all of us who pursue jobs which add nothing to human welfare or which hurt some people. Does the work I do aid or hinder human beings? Are we crossmakers for our modern world? There are many, many of them. (Morton Kelsey, in The Cross: Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ)

So to my friends who are making career decisions, I echo the question: Does the work you are contemplating aid or hinder human beings? As Frederick Buechner describes it:

“Vocation” comes from the Latin vocare (to call) and means the work a [person] is called to by God. There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of society, say, or the superego, or self interest. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need to do and (b) that the world needs to have done. If you find your work rewarding, you have presumably met requirement (a), but if your work does not benefit others, the chances are you have missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work does benefit others, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you are unhappy with it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your customers much either.… The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. (Frederick Buechner, in Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC)

The world has too many crossmakers as it is. Choose work that brings life, not death. Choose life!


And on this Good Friday, you may wish to take a virtual walk with Jesus through the stations of the cross.

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