After listening to a podcast this morning from CBC Radio, I realized that my time spent at work has not been without purpose or meaning. Perhaps I’ve known that all along, but I could never distill the reasons. I think I’ve been in the position I’m in now because I needed these months to carve out a sense of humility and a servant’s heart, and not to grow into a snob about things that I would do for paid work.

The podcast I heard this morning was about a woman who sells hot dogs on University Avenue, who is a university graduate with a BA in Fine Arts, and who is well-educated, well-spoken, and talented. (Listen to Wienie Queen on CBC Radio.) She explained that she kind of “fell into” the business of street vending after she had won a license in the Toronto Vendor’s lottery system. Her spot was on University Avenue near the major research hospitals, but her talents were in jewelry making, not hot dogs and sausages. But after some persuasion, she ended up buying the cart, and making a transition to long days and hard work, $2.50 per sale. Had she ever wondered what she was doing selling hotdogs? I’m sure that with all the time in between customers, she would have had ample time to reflect on this question, similar to how I reflect on my own role at work.

I’ve written before of feeling under-worked, or over-qualified for my work. Yet, after hearing what this woman has been doing and how she comes to terms and actually relishes her contributions, I’ve come to know that there are so many more blessings than the ones that we see or want to see happen. For me, a large part of it amounts to being shaped into a person who will, indeed, work at a “lower level” and for “less money” and have “less contributions” that make an evident change. My job is largely defined, but I make it what I think is best for both me and the Institute.

The best idea that came to mind this morning was the gem that we can easily become snobs about the things we do, the things we eat, the things we wear, the music we listen to, or the books we read. We think that we couldn’t possibly do this kind of work because we have such and such an education, such and such experiences, and such and such goals. But the answer to my search has been quite revealing: stop being a snob and your heart will be transformed for the better.

Jesus washed his disciples’ feet; He offered water to a prostitute; He touched and consoled the lepers. He conversed with the tax collectors, with Jews and non-Jews, with Priests and common folk. Do you think He ever turned his nose up at the people, the work, the food, the clothes? I highly doubt it. And that’s probably what God wants of me. “Take your work, whatever it is that you do each day, and make it shine for me.” I’m assuming that’s what He wants me to do, and I will approach each day knowingly working to transform and carve away my attitudes and notions of who I am: a person who accepts his position as a gift from God, and is ready to humbly serve, thus walking by faith and not by sight.