Work for dignity, not for dollar$

Work for dignity, not for dollars

I retired from the US Army on a Monday evening. Tuesday morning, I began work in a brand-new career field. With less than one day’s rest, I finished my career in the United States Army and transitioned to working on a church staff.

I loved my career in the Army. I will look back with pride for the rest of my life on the experiences that I had and the great warriors I was privileged to serve with in the military.

However, I had no desire to spend the rest of my life playing golf and fishing after retiring from the military. I wanted to do something productive with the rest of my time on earth. When I took off the military uniform, I was ready to put my skills to work in another meaningful field.

It’s not a need for money which drove me to work the following day after retirement. Rather, I wanted to invest the rest of my life in something worthwhile.

Sitting around all day with nothing to do is dangerous for a guy like me. I am the personification of Saint Jerome’s famous quote that, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools.” [1]

Finding purpose at work

I’m convinced that God has placed all of us on planet earth to make a difference. We are here for a reason. Life is frustrating and unfulfilling without a purpose for living. Part of our purpose for living is to work and make the world a better place. By work, I do not just mean job that earn money; work includes moms, caretakers, and volunteers, as well.

God created us to work. It’s not our only reason for existence, but it’s an important part of it. In fact, God was working when he created the heavens and the earth. God continues working to this day by being active and involved in human history. 

He placed some of his character and his abilities within us when he created people.  One of those characteristics is the ability to work. This is the reason why our work gives us such a sense of accomplishment. Our sense of satisfaction after giving a hard day’s work is part of God’s divine plan for humanity.

Do you know what your purpose in life is? Are you currently working in a field that you are both passionate about and gifted toward? If so, you know the deep sense of satisfaction after working hard at fulfilling your calling in life. If not, no amount of pay will make up for a lack of purpose and passion at work.

Finding passion to work

There are two types of employees: One is simply there for the paycheck. He or she couldn’t care less about the company or the future. This person is only working for payday. You know people like this. They are the ones who work hard to try to get out of work and give the minimum amount of effort to their jobs. These employees are working only for a dollar.

The second kind of employee is someone who loves what he or she does. This type of person is different at work. These people are not working just for the money; they are working because they are passionate about what they do. Typically, they put in the extra effort and extra hours and add more than just the minimum expected of their position.

Every boss I know is looking for people who love what they do. Every employer wants to hire people who are passionate about their jobs. I want to be on a team of people who are working for dignity rather than dollars.

Finding personal satisfaction in work

God has created humans to enjoy the fruit of their labors. Hard work in the garden early in the growing season leads to abundant crops at the harvest time. This is the law of sowing and reaping. Put in the hours of hard work today, if you want to experience the joys and satisfaction of a job well done tomorrow.

It’s healthy for people to work hard. It’s good for you to find satisfaction in what you do. However, it’s also dangerous to allow your work to become your identity.

Don’t let what you do become synonymous with who you are.  Don’t let a hardhat and steel-toed boots become your sense of identity. These things are symbols of what you do, not who you are.

One way to protect against work becoming too important is to keep in mind that all of our talents, passions, and abilities come from the Lord.  As Psalm 90:17 says, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish for us the work of our hands—establish the work of our hands!” [2]

It is God who establishes the work of our hands, and it is a gift of God that we are able to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. It is a blessing from God to be able to be passionate about our work. Tomorrow when you get up, find purpose and passion in what you do. But don’t let it cross the line and become the source for your identity.   


[2] Christian Standard Bible. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020.

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