One of my personal heroes disappointed me. He was a successful songwriter with cuts by several big artists but suddenly quit writing. I asked him why, and he said, "Nashville is den of thieves and cut-throats. I got tired of messing with them."
I said, "What about all the people like me who want to hear your songs?" He looked stunned. I don't think he had ever realized that there were a lot of people who loved his writing and singing. He had come to look at music as a business.
Emerson accurately said that our calling is in our talents, and when you are using your talents you are expressing the real you. Never let any man or life experience turn your expression of the real you into a business. It is what you are here to do.
And it is not out of the question the job we see as "just a way to make a living" could also be a part of our life work. We all have enough skills that we can find fulfillment in many kinds of work.
To be successful in our own eyes and in the eyes of those who care for us is more important than mere monetary success. If your life work is to be a counselor, are you not a success when you make a difference in someone's life? What if you save someone from ruin and they go on to a great life? How can you put a monetary price tag on that?
My songwriting friend who quit because Nashville was a mess failed to place proper value on the good he was doing. No profession offers more opportunities for well-doing than songwriting. Songs are living things. They crawl into little nooks, crevices and crannies of the mind and remain there for life. My friend quit writing without knowing how many times the lines of a couple of his songs had bounced around in my mind or how many times I had sung them. He was unaware of the sacredness of his calling.
Every kind of work we do is our personal ministry to the world. I have often told of the man who left a note on my desk when I was county executive saying, "We are praying for you in your ministry here at the courthouse."
Whoever heard of anyone saying politics could be a ministry? I tell you, it changed my life. Looking at your work as a ministry elevates your efficiency in a quantum way. It protects you from misuse of your office and inspires you to be a better person.
Everyone's work involves service to people, and we need to realize we are not just here to save people but to help them get through this life as unbattered as possible. Even the work of a garbage man is vital to the well-being of people. A neighbor of mine elevated my awareness in a powerfully beautiful way when I saw that he had put out a bag of goodies for garbage men on his pickup day. He did it for many years.
Don't let this messed-up world with its skewed value system control you. Be aware that your smallest contributions are important and dear to someone.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.