It was like an assembly line, but there were no machines doing any work. It was me. A spread of mayonnaise. A leaf of lettuce. Two tomatoes. Move onto the next bun and try to have it dressed before the guy running the grill slaps a hamburger patty down on top of it.
I flipped burgers for three years while I was in college. At first, I was happy to have the job just because I needed the cash. But as time went on, night after night, the job never changed. Monotonous was too kind a description. I could’ve done it in my sleep.
More than once, I wondered if I should quit and find work elsewhere. I didn’t, because they worked well with my busy college schedule and they paid pretty well. But as soon as I graduated, I was out of there.
Why did I have trouble with my job there? Why do so many millennials like myself seem to have a hard time dealing with jobs that seem to be dead-end, jumping from one to the next?
Studies have shown that while 74% of millennial job candidates want a job that makes them feel like what they’re doing matters. But on the other hand, those who feel like there actually is purpose to what they were doing tally in at only 30%.
We’re seeking purpose. We want what we do to be meaningful. And yet, it seems harder and harder to find purpose. Why?
Because in an increasingly secular world, all that matters to employers is the numbers. Clock in, clock out. Make money. Go home. Rinse, repeat. But millennials don’t care about the numbers. We care about doing something with meaning.
The greatest sense of purpose we can have is in serving Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
When we are saved by God’s grace, He gives us a purpose, and that is to tell others about Him, and about how they can be saved, too. This is the noblest purpose imaginable.
Telling someone about God’s love for them means opening an opportunity for them to escape the curse of sin and hell. It’s an opportunity for them to turn their life around. We don’t have to be in ministry to share the good news with someone.
But even outside spreading the gospel, we can have purpose when Jesus guides our lives. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.”
This means that even if in a dead-end job, even throwing tomatoes on a hamburger bun for eight hours, we should do it to the best of our ability. We should do it not for our bosses and not for ourselves, but for Him. For Jesus.
He gives our lives purpose. He is the one who makes the difference. When we are serving Him, what we do is guaranteed to matter.