Often right after meeting someone new, the first question is “What do you do?” That is meant to spark conversation and it often does. The answers are as varied as the people answering the question. “I am a doctor…a teacher… an accountant…a musician…a writer, etc.
I remember answering that question when my sons were growing up. I was a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes that did not seem like a good answer, but it was the best one I had. I was doing what I was called to do, what I wanted to do, but some did not recognize that as a job. I worked. I just didn’t have a vocation. Some people confuse the two.
Many people who have lost their jobs for one reason or another feel like they have lost their identity. They really don’t know who they are outside of their job. Since “What do you do?” follows right on the heels of “How do you do?” we are often tricked into thinking that our professions define us. They do not. They are only one aspect of who we are.
The Bible has a lot to say about how we approach work. It talks about being diligent and productive. In the book of Proverbs, for instance, there are (what I think are amusing) comparisons between ants and slugs. God advises us to be productive like the ants.
It never, however, implied that your worth or your identity is tied to employment. Whatever a Christian does, he should do well, for he serves the Lord Jesus. If you do have a job, you should be the best employee that your company has. A job is only one part of your life, however. Your work – what God’s purpose is for you – encompasses not only your profession but also every part of your life.
...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…We are God’s fellow workers, you are God’s field, you are God’s building (Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 3:9).