Scott Wooten: Don’t just work, serve | Religion

If I am an expert at anything, it would be leaving careers. This would in most normal situations be a terrible confession, but given the right circumstances, leaving jobs is a good thing.

I was educated as an architect, but God called me to the ministry, so I left that career. I was an Episcopal priest, but God called me out of that church, so I became an Anglican priest, leaving that career. I was an Anglican priest, but God called me to the Catholic Church, to be a Catholic priest, so I left the Anglican church and came home to the Catholic Church. With every move there were sleepless nights, concerns about money, and general concerns whether I was doing the Lord’s will or my own.

Why the personal history lesson? Because we have a genuine problem in society today. We live in a consumer society. We have even been branded consumers by the world. Other countries produce products, and we consume them. Now I could go into a long discourse on the issues with things that are not made in America, but let’s stick with consumerism.

We have done such a good job of becoming consumers that it has taken over our lives. We take jobs, not because we are called to them, but to make a paycheck. Please know that I like my paycheck, and quite honestly that is why I can lay in bed at night with a roof over my head. But the paycheck is not why I am at my current job. I am at St John Vianney because God called me here. What is more, this is not a job, but a ministry. I come to work in the morning not simply to punch the clock so I don’t get in trouble with the boss, I come to work in the morning to see who the Lord will bring me so that I might be of service to them. I hear confessions so that I might be of service to the faithful, I say Mass so that I might serve God and His faithful. I have meetings so that St John Vianney might flourish and serve the greater community. All I do is for service; the paycheck is (though necessary) a secondary resultant of my service and calling. So, what is all this? Am I looking for a medal? No.

Luke 17:10 reads, “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

God gave us work to do, we should do it and not expect reward or accolade. So, what does all this have to do with consumerism? Too many today go to work simply to get paid. Not only do we consume what we purchase, but we consume our jobs as well. We see employment as something that owes us a check whether we do our job or not. This robs our employer of time they have paid for, but also robs the customer of a pleasant experience. Too many workers are obviously annoyed when we come to their establishment — we have interrupted their day. This is a minor issue at the local burger stand but becomes more serious in businesses such as the medical field.

We are called to serve each other, yes, from the entry job that I took as a common laborer, to the President of the United States. We are all called to serve each other. Now this becomes more difficult if we hate our jobs. God did not call you to be miserable. He made you for a purpose. Pray daily, ask the Lord where He wants you, and then don’t be afraid to follow His will. I have followed the Lord, in His service, for my entire life, and can honestly say I have no regrets, nor have I ever gone hungry or without shelter. If you are going to work simply for the paycheck, and are not serving, you likely are not where the Lord would have you to be. There is no greater joy than finding God’s will in your life. Please, for the sake of all consumers, and for your own sake, find where the Lord intended you to be, and be a happy servant.

Fr Scott Wooten was born and raised in north Texas. He spent time as an Episcopal pastor before converting to the Catholic faith and subsequently was ordained a Catholic priest. He holds degrees in architecture and a Master of Divinity. He is assigned Parochial Administrator of St John Vianney Catholic Church in Cleburne, which resides in the diocese of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

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