“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” — Matthew 6:24
I caught myself in a lie the other day. Over the past few weeks, I’ve told this lie to many others, but most frequently to myself. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “I’m glad I made the decision to leave my job at the parish, but I still need to find steady work.”
I’ve uttered that statement or variations of it countless times in the past month. It is only half true—and the other half, I am realizing, is a lie straight from the serpent’s tongue.
The truth is that I am glad I stepped away from my faith formation job. It may seem strange, but I can say with no duplicity that it was perhaps the best job I ever had, and I do not miss it.
The lie is that I don’t have steady work.
I do not currently have a paying job, and that is a stressor, to be sure. But our bills are covered thus far; I have applied for a number of positions and pitched some freelance work as well, and I believe I will land on two feet, upon good ground, in God’s good time.
I need a paycheck at some point in the near future—but I have steady work. And I’m not doing it. At least, not well enough.
I left my job to answer a call to write and evangelize. For the past month, I have been given a tremendous gift: that of uninterrupted time to work on my craft. And how have I used this gift?
Looking for jobs, applying for jobs, praying for jobs, pining for jobs. Chasing jobs that have nothing to do with the call I set out to answer. Longing for pretty little jobs I’ve spied from afar, but that don’t know I exist. Lusting after perfect jobs that don’t exist themselves.
Of course prudence (not to mention my bride) demands that I look for work to support our family and help fulfill my primary vocation as husband and father.
But if my primary goal as husband and father is to get my wife, children, and everyone else I can to heaven, how many days should I waste on résumés? How can I not pursue the call I heard so clearly this spring?
I could have the better part of a book done by now, but I am driven to distraction by worries about money.
“So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” — Matthew 6:31-33
This is how the Enemy works, more often than not: planting tiny seeds of discord that cause us to deviate or delay in doing God’s work. I know this. And I’ve fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker. I’ve made this lie my own: I still don’t have steady work.
Rubbish. I left my position precisely because I have work to do. Work that demands more time, energy, and solitude than my parish job allowed. Here I sit, with time and solitude, and I waste my energy nervously checking job boards, email, and social media for jobs that provide little except money.
Lord, you have given me life, and I trust you to provide me a living. I renounce the lie that I am without work and the anxieties that result from it. Make my words your own, and help me to write daily to draw others to you. Amen.