My hair stylist, Olivia, happens to be an amazing singer and songwriter in addition to her mad hair skills. If you happen to live locally, you will see her popping up to sing at restaurants and cultural events around town. She’s got something cool going right now called “Memories to Melodies,” where she takes the everyday stories of those she meets and turns them into music. I find her inspiring.
As much as she enjoys doing hair, her music is really her passion. She recently told her mom that even when she’s cutting hair, she’s singing or writing lyrics in her head. Her mom looked at her and said, “You know, Olivia, even Superman had a 9-5.”
And so Olivia took those words and turned them into a song about how Superman works all day while dreaming of his next soul to save. Even Superman can’t pay his next rent late, the song goes on to say. And my mind jumped to the apostle Paul who was a sort of Biblical Superman, making tents by day, sometimes alongside Priscilla and Aquila, while likely also dreaming of his next soul to save, or his next city to visit, or his next letter to write.
It’s nice when our 9-5 job is also our passion, and some folks are blessed enough to find that perfect combination. But for many, the 9-5 is what pays the bills so we can use our time “off the clock” to punch a different sort of time keeper, the one that says the days are getting short and “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2).
I recently spoke with someone who is searching for a change of career but is not sure what that looks like. After perusing a list of job openings, she said, “I wasn’t born for business. I was born for ministry.” I know what she meant. Some are business-minded folks with a head for numbers and details and charts. Others are creative types who see art in music and song and dance and flowers. And still others are wired for children or the elderly, or for service or sales or marketing or design. For as many different people as there are on Earth, so there are as many different kinds of uniquely designed individuals trying to find the 9-5 that brings it all together for them.
But I pondered the second part of her statement. I was born for ministry. And my heart cried out, “Yes! Me too!” Because aren’t we all? Doesn’t a part of you yearn for something deeper and richer than just doing a job? To connect the very heart of all we are as Christ-followers to how we spend every waking minute, in a way that brings life to us and to those who surround us?
I wonder what it would look like if we all tied the idea that we were born for ministry to however we spend our 9-5. Because opportunities for ministry meet us at every corner, in every interaction, in every conversation, in every relationship. I suspect our days would be more fulfilling, the workload a bit lighter, the time a bit sweeter. We don’t have to wait until after work to dream of saving souls if we are occupied with saving the souls who work alongside us. And this, then, becomes the sweet spot, when Christ in us becomes Christ with us and around us and through us, loving the loveless and helping the helpless. Because there is no better 9-5 than being allowed to participate in the precious privilege of being used for the sake of His kingdom, and there will always be job openings for those who inquire.