I sat in a “barber chair” in the basement salon of a friend’s house. As usual, we chatted while she did the best she could with my unruly hair. At one point she made a comment that I’ve never forgotten. It saddened me more than I can express.
She said, “My husband is just the church janitor.” I don’t remember much after that because I was so fixed on that statement. It was the word “just” that haunted me. It’s such a demeaning word in that context. You could say, “My husband is the church janitor,” and it could be neutral—a simple statement of fact; or, it could be a strong affirmation—a statement of pride. But, when you add “just” into the mix, all those options are swept from the table.
She was clearly stating what she felt others thought about her husband and his value. He wasn’t important. He didn’t do anything significant…not in the church and certainly not in the broader world of commerce. How sad…incredibly sad.
But lots of people feel that. They feel as if their career is meaningless. They sense that others think their occupation is barely worth mentioning. And it doesn’t matter that it could have lots of social prestige attached. It’s still merely an occupation. And it won’t get better…no matter how many raises occur…or how many awards are received.
The only thing that makes an occupation more than a mere job is for it to be a vocation. And that’s what Jesus does for us. He takes whatever it is we do to earn a living and He turns it into a calling; into an opportunity to change the world. When we sense that God has us doing something in His name, it changes everything.
We are never “just” anything. We are serving “as unto the Lord.” That changes absolutely everything…for the good.