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Jesus and the Way We Do Our Jobs

Some people seem to think our faith doesn’t have much to do with the way we do our jobs.  A person might say I am accountant or a engineer or work in a government office.  My job doesn’t relate to my faith.  I disagree.  While the tasks we do at work may not seem to relate to our faith, the choices we make can.

For instance, do we think about how the choices we make might affect people?  Our priorities should not be based on how much money we make or if  it makes me look good.  There is nothing wrong with making a profit but when we make a profit at the expense of hurting people we have missed what Jesus has taught us.

Last night I was watching a program that examined the concern that building tall buildings or large dams in earthquake prone areas  was actually increasing the seismic activity in the area.  The phrase “just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing” came to mind.  Now, the program ended up concluding that the tall buildings (the one in story was 101 stories) didn’t increase the seismic activity.  The evidence did argue that the weight of the water held by the dams was having an effect.  How much did anyone think about these issues before constructing the dams and the buildings?  We like to talk about who will be helped by what we propose.  Do we talk about who might be hurt?

Sometimes the decision isn’t ours to make but we might still have an obligation to speak up.  If we are aware of a problem, we must, in good conscience bring it to the attention of those who do make the decisions.  I think of a recent case locally where the county budget for the current year projected an increase in the fund reserve.  It turns out the fund reserve is actually decreased significantly because of some unexpected expenses.  From the report I have heard, the expenses may be completely justified.  But the only way the County Legislature found out about it  was from a routine audit.  Sounds like someone either didn’t bring the problem to the proper person’s attention or someone didn’t listen.  Jesus wants us to be honest and upfront.  Jesus wants us to use the gifts we have been given wisely. 

Turning to our politicians, I will not comment on any one individual or political party because that is not my interest.  I simply want to say that politicians (and every other person) should not be making their decisions based on what makes them look good.  We should never make a decision just based on what might get us a pay raise or a promotion.  Some say, “Well, I am just doing what the polls say the people want.” 

This leads to a difficult question.  Are we obligated to do what the majority of people want or should we do what we believe is right even if the majority doesn’t agree?  In a country based on democratic values, the temptation is to say that majority rules.  When making a decision we must listen to the people but God is the one who determines right and wrong.

God helps us to know what is right in unusual ways.  Sometimes, God speaks to us through people we disagree with.  To make a good decision we need to truly listen to all sides of the argument and listen to God.  We should never think that we have all the answers.  True dialogue can lead to the truth and understanding.

When you are faced with a big decision, do you take the time to listen to others and to listen to God?  Do you follow the crowd (majority rules) or do you do what is right?  Stand up for what you believe in.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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