Almost immediately after we moved to the farm, I began looking for jobs. We planned way in advance for our move to the farm. If we were going to take such a big leap, we figured we should be good stewards and take care of both the children and resources with which God blessed us.
So, I continued this pattern by finding job openings in fields related to agriculture, missions, food issues/policy or some combination. Through a few different sources, I found lots of jobs to apply for. I couldn’t keep up with writing so many resumes, but i tried. I did my best to translate my experiences and skills to the particular jobs that I was sure I could do given the chance. Early on the possibility of going overseas as agricultural missionaries faded. There weren’t the positions or funding, and we weren’t interested in spending 18 months doing fundraising.
So, I kept looking for jobs. I applied for jobs in New York, Indiana, Chicago, Colorado, California and Austin, to name a few places. I even interviewed for a job running a national program across the United States that would have had me traveling all over the country. I applied for jobs at farms. I applied for community development work. I applied for education and program coordinator positions. I got desperate at one point and started applying for jobs I’m actually qualified for. For me, this was the bottom of the barrel… church jobs.
Part of my job as a father and a parent is to provide for my family, right? My wife had her turn putting me through seminary. Now it is my turn to pay the bills. Through the process of discernment with our group at church, I realized we’ve got it all backwards.
When we are at a crossroads, we look first for the job that will provide the stability and security every human being desires and needs. The job is that thing which will provide for our needs, income, health care, pension, etc. In many ways we put our trust, our hope, our faith even in our jobs.
What if, instead, the place, the community, the church was what provided our stability and security and our job was actually secondary?
We decided that we valued our community, relationships and the place we live more than the tempting stability of job security. The thing that we orient our lives around is the thing that defines and controls our lives. When our job is the thing that defines our lives, where we live and how we organize our lives and finances, we get the results that implies. If community, or the kingdom of God, is what we orient our lives around, then our lives will look very different.
So, a year later we’re taking another leap. We’re planning on staying where we are. This is a bigger leap, one we didn’t really plan for. We didn’t save up to make this leap into the void possible. There are some job possibilities, but nothing certain. What is certain is the relationships and community that we have found here.
It turns out looking for a job in the kingdom doesn’t come with a pension plan or health care, but it comes with a lot more friends and way more fun.
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