What can be said of a man who is stuck in a situation he hates? I am not talking about man who has lost his love to death, and wishes many things. Neither am I considering the plight of teenage boy who just crashed daddy’s new car. I am talking about a man who is working at a job in which he hates. How does he deal with such a situation?
As with the other examples, a simple answer (that also happens to be true) is: that’s life. As much as death and tragedy are normal, so is working in a job that you hate. It just happens that, as an middle-class American, we can even consider difficulties such as this. But the vast majority of employees cannot honestly say that they enjoy what they do. How many factory workers in China can make that confession? How many laborers in Africa has this luxury to complain? How many domestic workers in the Philippines has the time to consider such a question? In three short sentences, I have already rallied an army of employees larger than any group of Americans. Yes, that’s life.
But another simple fact is this: this man is an American. Just because he is an American does not mean he must deny such a luxury to complain and wonder, does it? Because a man is American, does it mean he cannot feel full, warm, and safe?
Now let us consider this: he is an American Christian. Not necessarily a Christian of an American sort, but a Christian that happens to be an American. He hates his job. So what? Does being a Christian take away the validity of his complaints? Let’s take away all moral assumptions. He is not being abused or oppressed. Just imagine the simply cubicle sheep who dreams of greener pastures. He’s not really all that lazy of a person, but he hates his job, so he is lazy at work, gets there late, and takes many breaks. It’s not his coworkers, or the pay. It’s the job itself. He hates it.
We can tell him the he needs to pretend that Jesus is his boss. We can tell him to glorify God in all things, even work. We can tell him that he needs to be a good witness for Jesus. But what else can we tell him? Is there any valuable words that do not sounds so unpleasant and moralistic? We can be an objective pragmatist and say, just change jobs. But what else?
I don’t know what I would say.