Meaningful Work


The character of our love or affection determines the character of our work Apocalypse Explained 695:3 Summer vacations have mostly ended now and fall-type activities have begun in earnest. The Labor Day weekend that just concluded is a real marker for changes in our activities as a community and across the country in general.

In Bryn Athyn, our schools our humming again with students and teachers (largely masked) back in their classrooms. It’s exciting to see the athletic fields teaming with sports teams and the crowd cheering resonating across our "Hill of Cohesion."

Labor Day originated as a celebration of the achievements and contributions of American workers. We can be grateful for huge improvements in the physical working conditions since Labor Day’s inception in 1894. Not that working conditions are perfect today. But currently, it is increasingly common to read about the “psychological needs” people have for “meaningful work.”

Since 2005, the importance of meaningfulness in driving job selection has grown steadily. “Meaning is the new money.”*

Although physical, practical and financial concerns often weigh heavily on people’s minds, a large majority of people sense that their wellbeing rests on finding outlets for their affections and talents in concert with others of a similar mindset. What seems to be recognized in secular terminology is that our deepest satisfactions will come only when our loves, our ideas and our actions can be fully aligned. It is the great design of our Creator in play here known to the New Church as the doctrine of useful endeavor.

We are still coming through serious dislocation in work patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This provides a special opportunity to re-evaluate our personal, organizational and religious priorities around our work activities. An extra effort is still required to have healthy work conditions and to support those who are suffering from this scourge. But can we also, with prayer and trust in the Lord’s good will, be looking for new ways to promote “meaningful work” as a means for bringing degrees of heaven’s happiness into people’s lives?

*”9 Out of 10 People Are Willing to Earn Less Money to Do More-Meaningful Work,” Harvard Business Review, November 6, 2018.