January 25, 2008

I’m A Closet….

Celine Dion fan…those of you who know me already knew that. But in my blog life, I must confess, I'm a closet reader of Penelope Trunk.

Who is Penelope Trunk (Even though that is not her real name)? She's the author of Braazen Careerist. She would be described by many in Christian circles as a blazing feminist. She's a dispenser of very un-orthodox advice. And as far as I can tell, would not call herself a Christian.

But one thing is for sure. She's a darn interesting read. Whether I agree with her or not, whether her advice is Biblical or not, her posts are good reads. And I had to quote her from this post as I think in many ways, she is spot on here:

One of the first things people think when they are unhappy is that they need to change their job. Maybe they'll get a job that pays more, or that allows them to be their true self, or will be their dream job.But you know what? A job does not make you happy, it only makes you unhappy. And forget about that raise, because the incremental happiness you get from earning more than, say, $100,000 is barely noticeable. (Yes, even if you have a family of four in San Francisco. Stop thinking you're the exception to every rule. It's a flaw that undermines your ability to change.) The thing that increases our happiness is our relationships. A job cannot make those better. However a job can make you so unhappy that you can't relish the relationships in your life.

Now obviously, Penelope and I would disagree on THE THING that increases our happiness, but we very much agree on the fact that people take WAY too much value from their job. I did. For a long time. My value in life came from what I did. It was a good job. It was in "ministry". Therefore, I was a good person and had every reason to be proud.

But it was during that job that I took so many things – starting with my family – for granted. I sacrificed my family on the altar of a "ministry" job. And as I get ready to plant a church, the one vow I have made is to never do it again.


Too many people have been great at their jobs and their spouses and children have wondered why daddy didn't love them. You can be the greatest employee, doctor, lawyer, real estate agent, pastor, director, developer, communicator, etc you want, but at the end of the day, God will have a lot more to say about what you did with Jesus, your family, and those closest to you than he will about how great you did in your job.

What's funny is that Penelope gets it. And I wonder why millions of Christians, who have the Spirit of God dwelling within them, don't?


Michael said...


How were you sacrificing your family for ministry?

I feel a lot of times I do that when I am directing the UPWARD program.

Marc Backes said...

Great question...

And it isn't just sacrificing family for ministry...I think the general category is sacrificing family for ANY job...

But doing it in "ministry" is a lot easier to fall into because you can twist and justify just about anything because "you are helping share the Gospel"...

I did it primarily through all the hours I put in. I want to be clear, nobody made me do that, I did that of my own free choice. But I truly believed that all those hours were "crucial". That if I didn't do it, things would crumble.

I did it by thinking that I was something more than I was because I was doing it.

I did it by thinking other people's kids were more important than my own.

I did it by thinking other churches were more important than MY personal involvement in a local body of believers.

I did it by thinking a lot of wrong things. And I thank God for those lessons because they will aid me tremendously in helping keep me from repeating the same mistakes...

Does that make sense?