The Meaning of Work: People

One of my greatest fears is the fear of being alone. Not in a sense that I think everyone will cease speaking to me or I’ll be rejected romantically. It’s more like the notion that I won’t be connected to anyone on a deep, meaningful level. I’m scared the things I do won’t matter to the people around me.

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When I was a young child, I attended a day camp. The group took a field trip to a local river park to explore the outdoors. At one point during the day, I was separated from the group and I got lost down the trails between all the trees. When I came to another picnic area, unrecognizable people stared at me with strangers’ eyes. I’m fairly confident I cried.

I don’t think it was the fact that I felt danger that made me cry. I think it was because I felt alone, disconnected from the people I belonged to. I was separated from my tribe.

Work

A lot of tradesmen and businesswomen and experts and artists get lost in their craft. Time is an offering, the almighty office desk an altar. Working hard and passionately is to be commended. However, work by itself is a shell lacking rich content. It’s meant to carry something. Work is designed for purpose beyond itself.

There are a lot of benefits to doing work, but work makes the most sense in the context of connections. At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s worth saying: work should be about people. Work should be fueling authentic community and helping those we care about most.

It’s not just an individual thing. It’s not a wealth thing. It’s a connection thing. Work is most meaningful when done for the sake of people.

“I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

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Do you see work as a wealth thing or a connection thing?

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