Purpose Through Work

An old saying that has stayed with me for years is this, “Find something outside of yourself, bigger than yourself, that makes you forget yourself so that you can give yourself.”

If our work drive is all about us, our aggressiveness we become abusive, we will burn out, and our self-sufficiency will crumble. However, if our purpose is to serve and exalt something beyond us, we will be able to give ourselves because we have forgotten ourselves, and our joy will overflow.

Author Dorothy Sayers says the following. “Modern thinking about work is something one does in order to obtain money and leisure. Work is actually man’s expression of creative energy in his service of society. If this is not seen this is what happens. Doctors practice medicine not primarily to relieve suffering, but to make a living, the cure of the patient is something that happens on the way. Lawyers accept briefs not because they have a passion for justice, but because the law is their profession which enables them to live.” She went on to say, “During WW2, many people were drawn into the army and found a new surprising sense of fulfillment in their work. The reason why men often find themselves happy and satisfied in the army is that for the first time in their lives they found themselves doing something, not for pay, which was miserable but for the sake of getting the thing done, their work was contributing to the survival of their nation! Work does indeed have dignity when it’s done for a greater service.”

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