Career and the Tenth Commandment
RECENTLY I found myself thinking that my job wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked. I didn't feel it made use of my talents or challenged me to develop in new ways. I longed for more. I yearned to feel that what I had to offer was wanted and utilized. It seemed so many people had better jobs than I had, and that in others' jobs there was a better match of talent with responsibility. Without realizing it, I began to covet the jobs those around me had. It was all very frustrating, and even though I prayed regularly about the situation, there didn't seem to be any change. I looked for another job. For many months, I kept watching for the opportunity that I knew God had for me. I expected that my talent and intelligence would eventually be recognized and I'd get that great job I was waiting for.
Finally, one morning as I was expressing my frustration to an understanding co-worker, she jokingly said, ``Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's job.'' I immediately saw that this was exactly what I was doing! Of course she was paraphrasing the Tenth Commandment in Exodus. It reads: ``Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's'' (20:17). I looked up the word covet. The definition included these phrases: ``to wish for enviously''; ``to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.'' I realized that coveting not only tries to take away what is your neighbor's, but it also evidences a lack of trust in God's ability to provide for everyone. I certainly didn't want to do that!
I continued reasoning this way: ``God knows me. He knows what I have to offer. His plan for me is good and is already in operation. I can trust this plan. I don't need to covet what anyone else has or is doing. God gives each of His children work. I want to do God's will. I want to reflect God, and in so doing, bless all around me.''
Life isn't a game with a few winners and a lot of losers. God's children aren't in competition for a limited amount of good. God, Soul, is providing unlimited good for all His creation. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, assures us in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul'' (p. 60).
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, desired to sit at Jesus' right and left sides, Mark's Gospel tells us (see 10:35-37). But Jesus showed them that their purpose in sharing his glory was to serve. They were to minister to others, as he did, rather than seek glory for themselves.
As I continued to ponder these ideas over the next several weeks, I felt a change take place in my thinking. I began to enjoy my job. Completing even the most mundane tasks gave me a rich feeling of order and accomplishment. A genuine feeling of supportiveness overshadowed any desire for personal recognition and advancement. And finally, several new opportunities for satisfying employment were offered to me.
Nothing can thwart God's plan for us. No one can take the good that belongs to you. You can't take the good that belongs to anyone else. God provides all good for each of His children. Each of us is needed to express God in our own unique way. We can all rejoice in the fact that our Father employs us, supplies us with all we need, and cherishes us.