A certain friend of mine today wrote an e-mail devotional sent to the Harvest Christian fellowship, of which I used to be a sporadic member during my undergrad years. But this particular installment resonated strongly with me, because it shed light on how I’ve been overly-concerned about one task after leaving Penn State: finding a job.
After sending out quite a number of résumés, cover letters, and other application materials to various Internet postings, the thought of “Why isn’t anyone at human resources responding?” kept coming to mind. I knew that these past few years have been rough for nearly everyone out of employment – whether they’re recent graduates or experienced veterans – but I wasn’t primed for the amount of patience and persistence that God was about to require of me. It discouraged me frequently to see friends receiving job interviews and full-time careers in their field of choice, moving to ideal locations that they dreamed, and earning money with their own hands; you could call it a stint of jealousy, perhaps, because while I was stuck at home with few funds, they were having the time of their lives.
But yet again, I realized how shortsighted I was, how de-focused I became from the real goal: to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself, of which no worldly career could ever fill. That money or even self-satisfaction aren’t the target. That if I kept stressing myself over whether I’ll work for a giant corporation with government stability, or a tiny, understaffed engineering firm, and whether I’ll stay at home, or end up moving far away from my family, this was not within my hands, because I was reminded that God would use me wherever He would take me. He blesses those he chooses to bless, and always on His time, as He gives all of us who trust in Him worthwhile, eternal purpose. Purpose that will not sway with the changing market, but builds a strong foundation for the Lord.
“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
– Matthew 20:9-16 (NIV, ©1984)