This week’s blog is an excerpt from How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them, By author Dale Kreienkamp.

YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY to do something we don’t usually take time to do; please don’t miss it. I’m serious; this is a chance to ask yourself some key questions about work. When you become unemployed, the first thing you think about, or someone tells you to do is to update your resume. While this is indeed important, I believe the most important thing is to consider your gifts—what you do well, what brings you joy in your work. Too many people are working but not experiencing joy because their job doesn’t match their gifts.

Let’s look at 1 Peter 4:10.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

We can draw three things from this text which are important for your job search.

“Use whatever gifts you have received.” God doesn’t say hide your gifts; he says to use them. That can mean finding a job that offers the opportunity to use your gifts every day, not once a month or once a year. I imagine you, like me, can learn how to do many things. But the difference between the ability to do something and a gift is the level of joy and excitement it brings. I’m analytical and good with numbers, but they don’t bring joy or excitement. That’s not how I want to use my time.

Too often we ignore this part of a job search because we feel panicked about getting back to work to earn money. But I urge you to take the time to ask your friends, family, and former coworkers what they see as your gifts. Write them on a piece of paper. As you consider applying for different jobs, ask yourself if the job offers the opportunity to use the gifts you identified. If you won’t be using your gifts, why consider the job?

Next, the text says we ought to use these gifts to serve others. If it’s really a gift, you’ll be helping others in using it. In the work environment, using your gifts will make the team you work on better than without you. Those you serve—your customers—will benefit because your gifts are being used.

The third thing is to be faithful stewards. To be a faithful steward of your gift, you must take care of it. You can’t do that by ignoring a gift or hiding it. One of the ways we exhibit stewardship is to use the gifts God has given us.

I believe God wants us to have joy in what we do for a living. On your journey, look for jobs that let you use your gifts, regardless of the money you’ll make. After all, money won’t provide long-term satisfaction; it’s something we never think we have enough of. But when you’re doing something that uses your gifts, the joy you receive and share with others will reap wonderful rewards.

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