On Being a Seminarian: Work and School…

This is part of a weekend series I’m writing for Near Emmaus. Be sure to check out other posts by other bloggers, especially if you’re interested in biblical studies.

Today is my last shift at The Duck Store (University of Oregon’s bookstore). It is a job I started in my first year out of college and hoped to continue on through seminary because even though it is only part-time, that little bit of income goes a long way. A job helps in answering the question of “Will I have enough?” Seminary is expensive and interest rates on loans are not dropping any time soon. Those 10-15 hours a week were really helpful. But there is another question I’ve been trying to ignore since starting at George Fox: Will I still be able to fully devote myself to my studies in order to flourish academically? Essentially, will I be able to do the work I came here to do and do it well?

Many seminarians are not in the same boat that I am. Many are dating or married, raising children, deeply involved with ministries unrelated to their seminary education, and/or working a full time job. Their purpose for attending seminary leans a little more toward the pastoral side. While that remains an option for me, it is not my current focus. I am not dating or married, raising children, deeply involved with any ministry (not even a part of a faith community, at the moment), and my purpose for attending seminary leans toward the academic side. Therefore, I find it essential to devote the overwhelming majority of my time and energy to my schoolwork. Yet, I know that financial resources are essential in order to even continue studying, so the job seems essential as well.

Another benefit to having a job is that is a regular, mandatory break from academic work. With my day-to-day so entrenched in classes, reading, writing, translating, etc., it has been refreshing to have a place to go where none of that matters. I can chat with my coworkers about sports or traveling to Europe or almost anything other than school. My job has almost been my Sabbath, in a way.

And yet it hasn’t been a Sabbath, a complete rest from obligations. It has only been a rest from academic obligations; any job has entire lists of obligations all their own. And while I’ve enjoyed the rest from academic work, I have felt exhausted by the obligations of a retail atmosphere (my job is also located in a mall). I’ve been reminded of the summer after my freshman year of college when I, for one month, worked four different jobs. I did so because I needed the money, but I would never do it again because it was so incredibly exhausting. Although the extremes aren’t the same here, it is still a similar feeling.

My best academic efforts have come when I wasn’t employed. I didn’t go out much and finances were always tight toward the end of each term (in between financial aid checks), but it produced a platform which gave me the best possibility at academic success. I may have lived off of Top Ramen and coffee, but I received the best grades possible.

Although working a part-time job while attending seminary is the wiser route, it may not work efficiently for everyone. I would recommend at least starting seminary while working a job and see if it’s something you are able to handle – again, though, it depends on your purpose for attending seminary in the first place. But what would you recommend? What has been your experience in balancing work and school? Was it best to treat each realm as a “Sabbath” of sorts to the other or, as was my case, did it make things worse? What’s your purpose for attending seminary (or school, if you’re not in seminary)?

Blogging When Busy…

It was slightly alarming to see that I haven’t written a post since June 8th. Two weeks would have been more understandable, but three? Just ridiculous.

A couple things have happened since then, though. I started reading a lot more, which took time away from writing. And I also took up a second job working for the Eugene Emeralds as part of their grounds crew, which took time away from both reading and writing. With July right around the corner, I now have to make sure I have a place to live in Portland before I start school in September. I’m a little hard pressed to find time to write these days.

Yet it’s no excuse. I love to do it – partially because it seems to encourage others and mostly because it helps process things I learn from the Lord. And while journaling goes a long way, putting something into a blog takes a little extra effort. I can’t sit down, spill out all my thoughts, and expect people to understand. Virginia Woolf was good at that, but I don’t think I am.

Instead, I have to edit and rephrase. I have to say it out loud as I write it to make sure it sounds understandable (this is especially fun at Starbucks when I’m sitting alone). As my good friend Tyler once told me, I can’t just throw a bunch of letters on a document and see what sticks. Every word, sentence, and paragraph is there because I chose to put it there.

I say all this to point out that finding time to write is more than finding a mere hour there or half hour here. It’s finding a solid several hours without any other obligation to work on my craft – to fine-tune it to make it the best I possibly can. It sounds tedious and boring, but I love it. Because at the end of it all, when I see the post fully written, edited, and published on my blog, I don’t simply feel productive; I feel satisfaction in having to work hard and work well to create something.

What these last three weeks have taught me is that blogging in seminary is going to be tough. Not only will I be a full time student; I’ll also be working at least part time, which means there’ll be little time for much else. Strangely enough, though, I’m excited about all of this. I’m excited about spending hours upon hours studying and reading and then turning around to go to work. I’m excited about experiencing life in the largest city I will have ever lived in. I’m excited about taking a plunge into something that fully engages me. Such an experience will need to be processed, which means I will have to blog at some point.

A lot is going to change in the coming months and every bit of it is exciting. Despite how busy it will be, I want to commit to writing posts in here partially because they encourage others, partially because it helps me process things, and mostly because it honors God to practice the talents and gifts we’ve been given. It doesn’t matter how busy life gets; if you aren’t doing what you love (even if you aren’t getting paid for it), then you’re doing it wrong.

On to more posts!

God bless.

Exhaustion by Full Engagement…

Between Friday and Saturday I worked nearly 24 hours (22 1/2 to be exact). When I woke up Sunday morning for church, it took every bit of will power not to go back to sleep (well, will power and knowing that someone was getting pranked by chocolate-covered meatballs tossed in powdered sugar – I’ll explain later). All throughout the morning I was flat-out exhausted.

In all honesty, I like those days. Working eight, nine, or even twelve hours in a single day gives me some weird sense of joy and accomplishment. When I was thinking about it on Sunday morning, though, I didn’t really understand why I was so tired. Sure, I was clocked in for a long time Friday and Saturday, but the actual amount of time that I worked was about two-thirds of the time I was clocked in. It simply didn’t feel like I did very much. And then my pastor, Scott Lamb, told me why.

“It was because you were fully engaged for that time.”

Why did this stick with me? Because deep down, mixed in with the desire to go back to school, is the desire to work. I know, who actually wants to work? Work is lame. You have to, like, work and stuff. Yet every time I envision where I am in twenty years or what I’d like to be doing, I picture ten and twelve hour days. I picture myself coming home being almost completely drained. Yet, the more I think about it, I don’t want a job or a career. I simply want something in which I am fully engaged.

Minutes after my chat with Scott, he gave a message out of John 1, talking about how Jesus became fully human and yet was fully God (still a difficult concept to grasp). “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” (1:14a, NIV). There was no part of being human that Jesus did not experience. Toothaches, stomachaches, heart breaks, hunger, thirst, loneliness, betrayal – you name a basic human emotion or physical feeling and He probably felt it, “yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV). In other words, in Jesus, God was fully engaged with humanity, yet fully Himself.

A show that I have recently been in love with is The West Wing. I know it’s fiction and I know it’s a very sugar-coated style of politics, but I freaking love it. Why? Because throughout the average day of anyone in the West wing of the White House, there is never not something going on. Meeting after meeting, speech after speech, crisis after crisis – President Bartlett and his staff always have something to tackle. “What’s next?” is President Bartlett’s go-to phrase. Every day that they show up to work, they have to be fully engaged. Otherwise they won’t be able to do their job.

Why should it be any different for me? Or for you? Or for anyone who dares to follow God to the places and people He’s calling them? Why should our purpose be pushing the cruise control button and sitting back to relax? Sure, most days are kind of boring, but that should never be an excuse not to be fully engaged with what we’re doing. And yes, I have used that excuse before; I’m not calling anyone else out except for me.

Josh Lyman, a character on The West Wing, said something during the first season that I’ve since found challenging, “The White House can affect more change in a single day than the average person can in their entire lifetime.” When it comes to living God’s kingdom and making earth “as it is in heaven,” shouldn’t the Church (the global body of Christ) be the ones saying that? Shouldn’t we be able to affect more change in a single day by the power vested in us – the Holy Spirit – than someone without Christ can in their entire lifetime?

No, I’m not saying you’re doing things wrong if you aren’t making big changes at a rapid rate. One element to the way God brings about change in someone’s life is time. He is incredibly patient and I am incredibly stubborn – having taken years and years to understand very simple truths, like loving my neighbor and regarding others as better than myself. God is all about the long-term growth, the kind that perseveres trials and tribulations. Sure, He gets excited when someone suddenly comes to Him, but only because He can begin His long-term plan with that person. What that long-term plan requires, though, is our full engagement.

Being fully engaged is at the core of being Christian. We’re supposed to be tuned in when our coworkers, friends, and spouses vent their frustrations and anxieties. We’re supposed to have the heart and mind of Christ when someone wrongs or hurts us – even when they try to blow us or others to pieces at a marathon. And we’re supposed to have the compassion of God for others as He has had for us. Being awoken to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, to the presence of the Lord God should be reason enough to be fully engaged with the world around us.

No, I’m not saying everyone should work themselves for the Lord until they’re completely exhausted. I’m simply saying we ought to be ready in season and out of season to share the good news of God – that there’s something better waiting for us than the greatest things of this world. God’s got something up His sleeve and He wants us to be a part of it. All we have to do is submit our whole selves to Him. We have to be fully engaged.

“‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these,'” – Mark 12:29-31

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, and whomever you’re with, fully engage yourself.

God bless.

Working Beyond a Job…

I’ve been getting restless lately. Every day that I show up to work, do my job, and then come home to read or write or really anything that I’d rather do, I get a little more eager for something more meaningful. Don’t get me wrong; I have a pretty fun job. It’s oftentimes stressful and busy, but it’s fun. What I find to be the one problem, though, is that it isn’t what I want to do in life.

Ever since the spring term of freshman year, I’ve wanted to write. “But… you’ve been writing. You’re writing right now,” you might say. And yeah, you’d be right; I am writing right now. But I know that when I’m done with this blog and it’s posted for all of my eight million readers to read (okay, maybe it’s only eight), I won’t get paid for it. And even if I did, I know it wouldn’t be enough to live off of.

Have you ever come across those people who often say, “I’m doing what I love and getting paid for it”? I envy them. I very much wish I could quit the day job, open my laptop, write until my fingernails explode, and relax later that night knowing I had a paycheck coming from the day’s work. I’d be at my desk all day in a sweater and khakis, sipping three or four cups of home-brewed coffee, and listening to the “Smooth Jazz” station on Pandora. Yeah… that’d be cool.

Unfortunately, my life isn’t like that – at least, not right now. Like most employed people, I’ve got to show up to work, clock in, do a bunch of menial tasks that no kid ever aspires to do, and come home in the afternoon/early evening. It’s a blessing and a curse; it pays the bills, but kind of saps the soul.

What I’ve been wondering lately, though, is what if I’ve got this whole working-to-make-a-living thing all wrong? What if, instead, I was supposed to work regardless of pay? What if life is supposed to be one giant unpaid internship where you work a bunch of hours just to say you did a lot of busy work? What if, as the Scriptures suggest, we’re all supposed to be indentured servants for something much bigger than our “real life” jobs?

I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase “Time is money” at some point in their life. It’s hard to grow up in America without hearing it from someone even if you’ve never had a job. It’s kind of confusing in the Christian perspective, though. Jesus teaches that money and possessions are temporal things at best and God is described as living before time began. If it’s God’s kingdom we’re to spend eternity in, then it stands to reason that neither time nor money will have any affect on our eternal souls.

“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” Jesus says, “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal,” (Matthew 6:20). Whatever it is that we’re earning (if we’re even “earning” it), it’s going to outlast this world. And as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with anything material, but rather something internal and eternal.

I raise this whole issue because in America, we’re too focused on making money. Yes, I have a lot of student loan debt and no, I’m not really working a job that will pay that off any time soon. But that does not define my life. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see a large number in red font with a dollar sign at the front; He sees a bit of Himself coming to life. He knows it is far from complete, but He knows that it’s growing. And He knows that no matter how much student loan debt I may wrack up, it won’t remove Himself from me.

Why then do we work? Because it’s not for money, a President, a social status, or even a spouse that we work; we work for God and everyone else thereafter. We work because God has called each of us to a particular, unique task that only our particular, unique selves are capable of handling. It’s not as though His whole plan falls apart if we decide not to do it. He’s certainly capable of doing everything on His own. But, as the entire Bible – which encapsulates a very clear picture of a very involved God – points out, He eagerly wants us to want to be a part of His whole operation. It’s like He’s building one giant jigsaw puzzle and He wants us to help piece things together.

What then should be our attitude toward that job we work 40, 50, or even 70 hours a week? After watching Gladiator for the 142nd time, I caught a line from Maximus’ armor-bearer; “Most times I do what I want to. Other times, I do what I have to.” Just because I work nearly 40 hours every week doesn’t mean I should let my job control my life and direct my passions. Instead, no matter what I’m doing or where I’m working, I have the opportunity to serve God by serving my coworkers and then come home to pursue my passions of reading and writing. The way I see it, I should be working at least 120 hours every week even though I only get paid for 40(ish).

Putting things this way makes it seem rather dreadful – working 120 hours a week and only getting paid for one-third the time?! But if we step back and look at things from God’s perspective, we’ve already been paid in full. We’ve been given a salary called “life” with a bonus called “sanctification.” What we’re doing now is simply whatever God places on our hearts to do. We only have to muster the courage to commit to doing it.

It changes the way I go about my day to day life. Take tonight for instance: Though I have to be at work at 8 am tomorrow, I’m going to be staying up late tonight to read and write some more – because those are my true passions. Like Paul being a leather-worker, my job is a mere way of making an income. It isn’t my life-long vocation. Serving God, however, is.

God bless.

Ceaseless, Sleepless Prayer…

“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” – Luke 6:12

I was roughly five minutes late for work on Monday. I wish I could say that it was for a good reason – like getting my coworkers donuts or walking a family of ducks across the street. But I was late because I was getting coffee. I have coffee at home and had plenty of time to make some, even though I had slept through my alarm by an hour and fifteen minutes. Instead I thought I’d be lazy and get a mocha from Dutch Bros.

As it turned out, there was a bit of a line at the Dutch Bros I decided to swing by. After waiting fifteen minutes and spending nearly $5, I got my mocha and drove to work. Fortunately enough, there weren’t any consequences for showing up a little late. But I point it out because I was a minute late Tuesday morning – and for a completely different reason.

I woke up at my usual time, ate breakfast at my usual time, and hopped in the shower at my usual time. And while I was in the shower, I started off a simple prayer for the day. Knowing that day was going to be busy – as well as the rest of the week – I thought it’d be best to set my mind in the right place. Shortly after praying, I turned off the shower and stepped out. Even though I normally take 5-10 minute showers, Tuesday morning’s rinse was nearly 20 minutes long.

I don’t really remember what I was praying about, either. I just know that at the time it was necessary and I wouldn’t have handled the day’s stress and frustration very well without having prayed. And as I was pulling into work one minute behind schedule, I thought of Luke 6:12 talking about Jesus praying all night in spite of His job. Moments before this verse, Luke records a couple encounters with the religious elite over someone whom Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. Moments after this verse, Luke records the naming of Jesus’ apostles and further healings after that. In spite of what Jesus had to do, He still sacrificed sleep to pray.

All-nighter prayers are very infrequent in my life. I’ve maybe pulled off a couple here and there. In recent days, praying has become rare in general. Work has been busier and busier with the football season in full throttle and my day to day tasks have multiplied as well. Praying on a regular basis isn’t very convenient.

Even if I do find the time to pray, they aren’t always the most focused of prayers. I start rambling about different things going on that day, which quickly turns into me reciting my to-do list out loud to myself. Next thing I know, I’m off to start my to-do list all the while I haven’t finished my talk with God. It’s like making a phone call, but walking away just as the other end picks up.

Prayer, in my experience, gets treated as a highly-formal religious rite or a simple, short-lived part of an every day routine (i.e. praying before going to bed). What I find challenging, though, is how Jesus uses prayer. Sometimes He’s praying alone (Matthew 14:23); other times He prays for what seems like hours when a major shift is about to take place (consider the garden of Gethsemane; Mark 14:32-40); and yet all the while, it is an intimate and special practice in our walks with God – something to be kept behind closed doors (Matthew 6:6). As Jesus teaches, God does not want our pretense; He wants our communion with Him.

Despite how we may treat it, prayer is not a fee; it is not something we have to do as part of being good Christians. Instead, it is total surrender of whatever we have going on to engage and embrace whatever God wants to have going on within us. It is not a small snack here and there, supplementing our main-course meals; it is all the meals combined (however many we may receive) because it is the very thing that sustains and drives our spiritual lives. To try and be Christian without prayer is like trying to drive a car without an engine: You’ll stay in one place without it.

“Pray,” as Paul says, “without ceasing,” (1st Thessalonians 5:17). Pray – even if it means being late to work, skipping breakfast, sacrificing a few hours of sleep, or whatever else. Jesus utilized prayer not because it was merely the most effective tool to continue His ministerial work, but because it was the only tool with which He could bring about His Father’s kingdom. It kept Him focused. It kept Him nourished. And it kept Him moving.

Days will only get busier. Maybe you take on more classes in school; maybe you gain more responsibility at work which requires more of your time; or maybe you start dating someone or raising a family. Life’s many stages will only cause us to work harder and retain a stronger focus. Prayer not only helps in these two areas, but causes us to look beyond the temporal circumstances (i.e. this life) toward the life that is to come. Isn’t that worth the 15-20 minutes here and there?

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit,” – 1st Thessalonians 5:16-19

God bless.

Resting to Grow…

Today was a much needed day of rest. After a late request to a coworker, my usual Sunday night closing shift was covered. You see I’ve had the knack of getting into various streaks of days without rest – without a day off – and I don’t even realize it. It wasn’t until Friday that I had realized I had gone three weeks in a row since my last day off. Needless to say, I was exhausted after last night.

“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist,” – Proverbs 23:4

I used to think this Proverb was in reference to the notion of gaining as much money as one can. I used to think of the rich man in Mark 10:17-22; someone who had kept every rule ever given to him, but also kept every dime given to him. In this day spent watching episodes of “How I Met Your Mother,” eating a delicious burrito from Mucho Gusto with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, and watching one of my favorite movies (Finding Forrester), I now realize this Proverb wasn’t talking about getting rich. It is simply talking about Sabbath.

Jesus says that man was not made for the Sabbath, but rather the other way around (Mark 2:27). In His day He taught not to make certain days more holy than others and we’ve sort of followed His lead as a Christian culture. But what I’ve gotten into the bad habit of doing is overlooking the positive thing Jesus says about the Sabbath.

In saying that the Sabbath was made for man, He’s saying that it was God’s intention for His creation to take a rest from his/her work. Oregon law states that for every shift of six hours or more, an employee is required to take a half hour unpaid break for physical rest. With God’s commandment of a Sabbath, however, it’s intended for much more than physical rest; He wants our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls to rest.

Back in my junior year of high school, I was taking a weights class. It was the only one I ever took in high school, but I learned quite a bit from it. For starters, I learned that it isn’t good to work out the same muscle group day after day after day. It’s in fact better to alternate between each muscle group day to day. One day work your upper body and then the next work your lower body. And why was that? In order for our muscles to grow in strength and size, rest – not more exercise – is required. I believe it’s the same for our souls.

Work is forever a part of life. And some of us work far more than others (parents, I hear, work every single day – but I think it’s just a theory…), but no matter who you are or what you do, you work to some degree each day. It’s good for us – healthy, even. But, like taking any one thing too far, we’re not supposed to fill our schedules with jobs and extra hours here and there to make the extra buck. We need to rest. We need days off.

I have often heard the age-old cliché “time is money.” My generation has probably heard this less than the generation before us, but we’ve heard it. And many of us have believed it even if we didn’t consciously acknowledge that belief. It’s used to generate strong work ethics, but there’s a problem: It’s a lie.

Long lives aren’t dependent upon large bank accounts; they’re dependent upon a large faith – even as large as a mustard seed. Food, clothes, housing – you name it; if you need it, God will provide. Money, though useful in the social system we’re in, is not God. It won’t buy you a faithful spouse, a ticket into heaven, or especially a new change in your character. It is simply a means to an end. I use it to buy food, but I can also grow my own. I use it to pay for gas, but I could also ride my bike. And it helps pay for a roof over my head, but who says I wouldn’t be sheltered apart from a lease?

My only point is exactly as the Proverb teaches: We must be discerning enough to say “no” every now and then to those extra hours. We must be wise enough to know that no matter where we are in life, we will always be working and therefore always in need of rest. It helps our muscles, our work ethic, and our walk with God to keep a healthy balance between our jobs and our days off.

God bless.

Wrestling with Restlessness…

Last Wednesday I attended the Spring Career Fair at U of O. It wasn’t because I was desperate for a job; I have two. It wasn’t because I want to make more money, either; I make enough for the time being. I went to the career fair because I am restless.

I love my jobs; they’re fun (most of the time). But what has been kind of bugging me throughout the last few weeks is the fact that when I come home from either of these jobs, I haven’t really done much. Sure, I might make a few customers happy by making them a good pizza or finding the item they were looking for, but beyond that, what’s the draw? What have I accomplished apart from bringing in a paycheck?

In school, I felt like I was doing something meaningful. Yeah, I hated the midterms, papers, and projects, but my constant motivation was the fact that, little by little, I was achieving my undergrad degree. It made those tests all the more critical to excel in. It made the tedious assignments of blog comments and one-page writer’s responses less dreadful. And it gave those research papers a sense of immediacy as I wrote them – as if my entire future depended upon it.

The “real world” is boring. Sure, during football season things get busy at both my jobs. It’s important that we find the missing items in the warehouse. And there’s a great deal of urgency to make those 12 large pizzas on time for that 13th-Birthday party. But finding something and making a few pizzas in a timely matter aren’t really accomplishments. No one puts those things on their resume.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God,” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Paul has a point: Glorifying God is supposed to be our number one priority no matter where we are or what we’re doing. But then Paul goes on to talk about spiritual gifts two chapters later. He says basically that no matter which gift you have, it’s absolutely vital to the purpose of Christ and His church; “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” (12:22). And just when it looks like there might be a slight message of “just keep doing what you’re doing,” he says this toward the end: “But strive for the greater gifts,” (12:31). So if he actually means what he says when he writes 10:31 and 12:31, then doesn’t it stand to reason that if we aren’t striving for the “greater gifts” we aren’t really glorifying God?

I understand that these chapters in 1 Corinthians are leading up to chapter 13, which is by far the most important thing for any Christian to learn and practice. I’ll get to that. What I’m trying to guard myself against here and now is idleness. No, not idolatry – the worship of false gods; idleness: doing only what needs to be done for the present time in order to have the most relaxation possible.

When Jesus is telling the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), there’s something the master of the house says that really strikes me: “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’” (20:6). And in the parable of the talents, the master again says something similar: “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!’” (25:26). To borrow from C.S. Lewis, God is not fond of slackers.

I don’t think I’ve been particularly lazy; I’ve been working a lot over the past seven months. But I can tell you that I have felt terribly restless. I want to do more than show up on time, work hard, work efficiently, and then come home. And it makes me wonder: If I feel that what I’m currently doing is lacking in a deeper spiritual sense, then shouldn’t I do something about it? Doesn’t James say that he who knows what he ought to do and doesn’t do it sins (4:17)? And if I feel that I’m not doing enough, doesn’t it at least suggest that there’s something I’m supposed to be doing?

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing,” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Paul says that without love, whatever we do in this life, on this earth, is meaningless. Or, to put it in the opposite way, love (as described in vv. 4-8a) gives meaning to everything we do – be it playing a professional sport, receiving a third PhD., or making a pizza for someone just the way they like it. But what Jesus reveals in his parable of the talents is that we’re supposed to do more than the bare minimum. We’re supposed to keep striving, to keep climbing, and to keep pushing ourselves not to our fullest potential to glorify ourselves, but to our fullest potential to glorify God in all ways possible. From this point all that remains for me (or anyone in a similar boat as me) is to choose to start pushing.

A new job won’t be the fix to my restlessness. But refusing to try for a new job might be even worse. In a pickle like this it’s best to figure out which way is the most difficult. It’s probably the way I’m supposed to be taking.

God bless.