Q. I lost my job over a year ago and I can't find any work. My whole identity - who I am - has always been my work. My family looks down on me and I'm so depressed I can hardly go on. Any suggestions? (T.B.)
This is a question many of our rescue mission residents face everyday…
A National Identity Crisis
One thing we know for sure is that you are not alone. Millions of citizens have prepared to do certain work whether it's engineering, trucking, machine shop jobs, running a small business and so forth. But, now they find they are unable to do what they were trained to do. It's an acute problem because in our culture we have been trained to think that who we are is defined by what we do.
The Christian's Identity
But, thankfully, for those of us who believe in the lordship and redemptive work of Jesus Christ, we have a new identity. Our value lies in our status of belonging to Christ. "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person" (2 Cor. 5:18, NLT).
So for the Christian our identity no longer lies in our employment status. It no longer matters what we do or what we were trained to do.
The apostle Paul says,
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (Col. 3:23, NLT).
Our New Work Identity
That means we can find employment as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, deliver papers, become a trash collector or anything else that brings in a paycheck. It doesn't matter because our identity is in being a Christian. Our work, whatever we do or say, is to be "a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father" (Col. 3:17).
We Don't Compare Ourselves to Others
We are each uniquely responsible to God for our own lives, too. We don't need to compare ourselves with other people or the things they do. The apostle Paul advises us, Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct (Galatians 6:4-5).
Our Unique Job
You might want to begin to pray that God will open doors for you to minister to others in whatever job you decide to take (2 Cor. 1:4). None of us are left out. God has uniquely given each of us specific jobs to do. "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Eph. 2:10).
Training for Reigning
Our current jobs are simply a means to an end. They are giving us people and organizational skills to use later when Christ gives us our permanent rulership jobs. So always remember that we are training for reigning. We are a part of a leadership training program to eventually assist Christ in directing the affairs of the universe (2 Tim. 2:12; Matt. 19:28).
If you are not yet a Christian, may we suggest that you ask us the reasons why we believe in Christ. There are volumes of evidences supporting Christianity. Just ask. We'll give you the best answers we can.