Sermon: Spiritual Meanderings: Our Jobs; Our Work, by Christopher Johnson

2019 September 9
by DoMC

Spiritual meanderings: Our Jobs; Our Work.

By, Christopher Johnson

First Unitarian Congregational Society

September 1, 2019

Introduction

Good morning. Today we are speaking about being a channel of Gods light, especially through our jobs.

In writing this, I thought back on my various careers so as to give me some perspective. I realized that within each job, there was a more subtle spiritual work than the day to day activities. It was oftentimes hard to define, being quite fluid. I did though try my best to define it, at least part of it, through my most recent career as a licensed contractor, so as to help us all see our own occupations more fully.

 As a licensed contractor and business owner my job was to use my construction skills to the best of my ability. My spiritual work presented as visiting my customers in the hospital when they were sick and dying, counseling those who sought my counsel for problems other than work related, and just going beyond what was expected of me both in my job and customer relationships. The spiritual work didn’t stop there. There were employees who had personal problems for which I tried to help as I could. So when someone asks us what we do, realize we do more than the limiting designation of our title.

 There is a difference between our job and our work. Our Job is what we are paid to do. We perform some task for wages. Perhaps we may own a business that offers some service.  Some of us train for years for a specific career that we feel passionate about. Some of us seemingly just sort of fall into a job or occupation.   

Our work can differ from our job, as it is something which is divinely inspired. It is spiritual in nature. Our true work, simply put is to allow the Divine to work through us always and in all situations to the best of our ability. We do this by becoming less of what we are. Common sense tells us something cannot be added to something which is already full. Jesus said that those who want to save their life will lose it. Those who lose their life will save it. As we become less in our ego centered-ness, less in our attachments, we become infused with more of the divine qualities of God. To varying degrees, we all allow the Divine to work through us whether through our jobs or not. Those of us who truly desire a more intimate relationship with the Divine can have it. One only has to ask.  As we become greater channels of Gods light we become transmuted creatures, leaving behind our human preferences and frailties, expressing that light in an infinite number of ways, not only to those with whom we love, but especially those with whom we find challenging. Therein is the true nature of our work, and a path to greater awareness.

Homily

The main difference between a job and work is that spiritual or true work is a permanent feature of human design and destiny. It continues beyond physical death as a condition for the evolving soul. A job though is impermanent. It lasts for a day, a year or perhaps a lifetime. A job can overlap and be a medium for our spiritual work, but our work cannot be limited to our job. A wonderful example of doing God’s work through a job is a stay at home parent. Though perhaps not a job as I have previously defined one in the introduction, it is certainly a job and certainly spiritual work. In my opinion, nurturing a young soul is probably the most important work there is. How many dysfunctional adults are there in the world today who did not receive the love and attention they deserved as children?

Think about how many years of our lives we spend at a job. Since we spend so much of our lives at a job, seeing it as a spiritual expression helps us recognize its importance, beyond as a vehicle for mere subsistence.

Whether we hold an exalted or humble position, our jobs are in this moment divinely suited for us. Since we already hold that position, it cannot be any other way. We may wish and train for advancement or another type of career, but where we are and what we are doing is the perfect job experience for us. It is a spiritual exercise in form. It is a lesson in giving and receiving. It is a reflection of beliefs and self-worth. It is a vessel for growth and purpose. This is true even if we hate our jobs.

Using our job as a medium for spiritual exercise and expression is an excellent way to have a positive effect on our small part of the world. Everyone’s job differs as does everyone’s level of spiritual understanding. Our jobs offer us the opportunity to incorporate spiritual work, whatever that means to us, within its framework. Some of us already do this and realize what we give and what we receive. We should recognize though, that through this medium, there are always greater opportunities, to become increasingly clearer channels of Gods light. Should we doubt this, simply ask for these opportunities to appear, with heart felt desire, and see what happens.

There are immeasurable ways we can allow the Divine greater access through us. Religious observance and beliefs can create a healthy framework in disciplining the mind and our actions. Joining Self-help groups for support in the releasing of unhealthy patterns of behavior may be an option for becoming clearer. Or, try this; recognize that someone with a different view point is not wrong; they just have another point of view. Think for a moment about someone with whom we really disagree. The Enlightened soul will recognize a glimmer of truth in that persons approach or opinion. Should that statement bring up an emotional disagreement then good!  Stretching ourselves past our attachment to our own beliefs becomes uncomfortable and challenging as we expand those systems of belief. Truth always exists in the polar opposite. They are just seeing it all through another lens born from different life experiences, preferences, and beliefs.

Here is a brief illustrative story:

God and the devil were walking down the street. God saw something on the ground, bent over, picked it up, looked at it, put it in his pocket and kept walking. The devil said “What’s that?” God said: “Truth”. The devil said, “Here, let me organize that for you”.

We believe something is true because of our human belief that we/it is right.   Truth is a quality of the Divine and exists beyond the human ego’s judgement of right or wrong.

Another example of allowing the Divine to work more fully through us is to remove our attachment to any situation outcome. That does not mean we do not care. It does not mean we do not work for change. It does not mean we do not voice our opinions. We just delete the emotional component from the equation, by trusting in Divine order. Divine order is always movement seeking balance. Balance is achieved through the Universal Law of Divine Compensation: “What so ever we give, be it light, indifference or darkness, we will receive”.

The Divine is always seeking greater expression. Through us it will work as intimately as we will allow. I personally, have exercised my intuition so as to hear Divine Guidance more clearly.  At times, I know precisely what the best course of action is, even if it goes against all rational thinking. Like everyone, I have failed to follow Divine Guidance and paid the consequence. Following Divine guidance is the precursor to ultimately recognizing free will as the illusion it is, because our true nature dwells above, not below. That is certainly a topic in itself.

Being a channel of Gods light, no matter how insignificant or inadequate we feel that any small act may be, has an immediate effect and raises the vibrational frequency of the world around us. The act may take any form as we feel divinely inspired; working within comfort levels at first, expanding beyond that comfort is the goal. One does not have to be a Buddha or a Christ to affect positive change.

Doing the absolute best we can, instead of just doing enough, giving money beyond our comfort level, taking personal responsibility even if it is not ours to take, expanding in courage while in the presence of fear, learning to take control of our thoughts, reducing our carbon footprint, simply being kind.  Being a channel of Gods light may also take no form as in prayer, meditation or a deepening spiritual faith. This type of work is something that keeps our awareness connected to the creator. It can be very simple or very personal and profound. The choice is ours.  We reap what we sew.

I wish to share two stories with you. During the summer FUUB always has a fill in letter carrier. This year, the person decided it would be a good idea to place many pieces of mail over a 7 week period in an area outside that was clearly marked “Do not place mail here”. The long overdue mail which included substantial checks and correspondence was found by chance, which was wet, dirty and partially destroyed. A person is judged by their actions, not only by their peers, but also by the Divine through universal laws. This is a perfect example of someone who has zero understanding of the subject matter. 

Recently, I was sitting down by the water at pier 6. It is one of the places I enjoy being when I want to relax. An obvious park employee dressed in an unflattering blue and yellow jump suit picking up papers and pushing a garbage can on wheels came up to me and asked me how I was doing and was everything alright. I frankly found it a bit odd, and certainly had my caution radar up. I conversed with him for a while. He proceeded to tell me he was a journalist as he pulled out a well written in journal.

 It turned out that he considered his true calling was to be kind and helpful and to learn a little about all persons he encountered so that he might bring them some encouragement. In his journal were the writings of everyone he spoke to who wished to memorialize their brief time together.

I was not only deeply moved by the sensitivity of this young man, but immediately recognized how the Divine was working through synchronistic events, so that I might have an illustrative story to share with you today. This is a perfect example of this man courageously doing his divinely ordained work through his job. It is equally a perfect example of the Divine helping me in my spiritual work, as I prepared for my homily.

I would not be a man of integrity if I did not practice what I preach. Like everyone, I experience an ebb and flow in application of my spiritual understanding especially during times of strife. That, of course is the test.

I pray, meditate, tithe, do my best to take conscious control of my thoughts when they venture into unhealthy areas, and attend church, perhaps more infrequently than I would like to. I embrace responsibility and do my absolute best. Because I am a perfectionist, I get annoyed with myself when I fail to live up to my own high standards. If I can’t live up to my standards then certainly no one else can. I recognize my short comings and try to improve myself through various means.

When I was a boy I would take anything apart to see how it worked and then put it back together, sometimes in an abstract way that the manufacturer had not intended. I enjoyed being creative. In my job as Director of Facilities, I enjoy a certain creative component in resurrecting the proper functioning of these old buildings. I favor a Green approach of professional repairs over new installations whenever feasible. I have a lot of experienced in re-purposing previously used materials such as the blue stone and marble slabs which can be seen outside the new chapel patio.  To leave something better off so that future generations will be able to carry on the sacred tradition of First U.in safe more efficient buildings I think is honorable work.

On Sundays I have made security my primary responsibility. It is my job and my work to make sure that all are safe. I take this personal responsibility very seriously.

The Divine finds us where our interests are. If we understand that our particular job is a vehicle for spiritual expression, we will not have to figure anything out as to how we should proceed. Simply choose the most honorable approach. Should we do that, everything else will naturally and eventually fall into place. Through Divine law it cannot be any other way.

We all mature as we experience the lessons of our lives. It is our responsibility to pass on what we have learned. The Divine will always present a way to do this.  I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be of service through this type of spiritual work.  May I suggest we all spend some time today and recognize God at work through our jobs and in our lives.

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