This question is worth thinking about more than you may realize. Your job is what an employer pays you to do, your work is what you were born to do. There were times that I simply did not enjoy my job and I sought after another that would bring more fulfillment.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain
You may argue that a job and work are much the same because they can both provide a source of income, but I believe it is only when you do what you were born to do will you really find fulfillment. Chuck Colson was once asked, “If there is one piece of advice you could share, what would it be?” His answer was: “Do only what YOU can do.” That statement is worth some deeper thought and can make you realize that there is a creativity within all of us to do something unique.
Never working another day in your life is not just a dream then, but maybe it is discovering what only you can do. Your work is more than a job; it is actually more about purpose and utilizing your gifts.
Dallas Willard suggests some distinctions:
- Job: What I am paid to do, how I earn my living
- Work: The total amount of lasting goods that I will produce in my lifetime
“Lasting goods” is our impact on others, what we leave whether financial, spiritual, moral, emotional etc. What “lasting goods” is my life producing? This is the question that should help us in decisions regarding our work. Interesting that Jesus acknowledged to the Father, “I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do” (Jn 17:4). If you consider his time on earth, Jesus had a job as carpenter, but he recognized even as a child, that his work was to be about his father’s business (Lk 2:49).
It is easy to conclude then that his job was just how Jesus earned his living (likely from age 12-30), while his true work was his years of public ministry (just 3 years). My immediate thought from this verse is that Jesus glorified God in his ministry years, for the most part, especially by his sacrifice on the cross. However, do we make a mistake when we separate the years of his life like this? The fact is that Jesus glorified God on the earth, period. Dr. Klaus Issler concludes,”I think we can infer from his messianic work, that Jesus also gave this same kind of excellence to his job as a builder.”
My conclusion: you need to fulfill your work, and your job may help you do that.
Here is what Steve Jobs said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”