I know many people who strive to get to the weekend or to days off, dragging themselves to the next pay period and doing whatever they can to finish the day, watching the clock. What if work wasn’t just work? What if work was a vehicle to live and share a bigger purpose?

I recall speaking with a young man who felt his calling was to be a schoolteacher. I asked him a poignant question: “Who are you teaching now?” He told me he needed to go to college and get a degree, then do his student teaching, etc. I told him there were many opportunities in our church and in our community to teach and tutor students.

I believe there’s a flawed perception in our society that states in order to live out our calling, we need to have a degree or license. Sure, we need education and certifications, but my point is if you want to solve hunger, do missionary work, you do not need to leave your job and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to an impoverished country or start a charity. There are things all of us can do, right here and right now to live out our calling.

While there are some wonderful causes and some are called to change careers or locations, for many of us our bigger purpose can be found in the here and now, in the jobs we have, right under our noses and in our community. When we find and live our purpose, it will provide the ultimate fuel for meaningful life.

You may not build libraries around the world, but you can find the bigger purpose in reading to your children. You may not feed the homeless every day, but you can contribute food or finances to our local food pantry or to the many churches that feed the under-resourced. You can make sure those in your neighborhood and those you work with have adequate food. How about nourishing others with a smile, kind word and care?

You may desire to become involved in charity work. Well, the word charity is nothing more than “love in action.” You can make a difference every day and touch the lives of everyone you meet.

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I know of an auto mechanic who spends some of his time off repairing bicycles for children in need and more than that, teaching them how to fix bikes and turn wrenches.

I know of a young woman who sings as she makes coffee beverage for people. Her songs put smiles on faces of her customers and I have seen that first-hand.

I know of local cops and firemen who are coaching kids in baseball. Sure they are public safety professionals, but they take off their uniforms and impact young people with lessons of life, sportsmanship and build relationships with young people. If you asked these coaches why they do what they do, you would hear them speak of their life purpose to make a difference in the lives of others. They are ordinary people with an extraordinary purpose.

In any job, our purpose waits for us to find it and live it. I can’t tell you what your purpose should be, but I can tell you that every one of us can find a bigger purpose in the jobs we have.

Bernie Federmann is the senior pastor of Lompoc Foursquare Church and a chaplain for Lompoc police and fire departments. He can be reached through mylfc.com.

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