work is worship

O people of Bahá! It is incumbent upon each one of you to engage in some occupation, such as a craft, a trade or the like. We have exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship of the one true God. Reflect, O people, on the grace and blessings of your Lord, and yield Him thanks at eventide and dawn. Waste not your hours in idleness and sloth, but occupy yourselves with what will profit you and others. Thus hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon hath shone the day-star of wisdom and utterance.

Bahá’u’lláh

After recently seeing several friends of mine proudly join the ranks of the working world — Vafa at Revenue Canada, and Sahba at CHEO; as well, Martin has been having lots of luck recently with his many website and business contracts — I thought it might be appropriate to blog something about work. For me, the transition from full-time school to full-time work initially came with a sense of disappointment, particularly because it meant that I had less free time to do things I liked (yes, including goofing off, but also including personal projects, service to the Faith, hanging out with friends, and so on). It felt like a sacrifice. In a way, I felt as if work was taking away from my ability to be a “good Bahá’í”, because after a long day of work, I had no energy left to give to visiting people to encourage them, hold or attend training sessions or study circles, support devotional meetings, etc.

It took some deepening on the subject to begin resolving the issue. The above quote, from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, was a starting point. We have to work – we can’t just sit around doing nothing. We have to do some good on this Earth. Moreover, when we do work (“…especially when performed in the spirit of service” – Shoghi Effendi), our engagement in our work has the same rank as worship. So, working full-time to support yourself and your family has the same worth in God’s eyes as worshipping God all day. Does that mean that I shouldn’t still serve in other ways? I don’t think so. “Arise ye, under all conditions, to render service to the Cause,” Bahá’u’lláh exhorts us in the Most Holy Book. Perhaps, as with all things, the key is to find a balance.

I’ve been working at the Conference Board of Canada since October. It can be a hectic, high-pressure environment sometimes, but I seem to work well under pressure. As well, the people I work with are very supportive and willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. They’re also fun to be around. In a way, I got lucky. This job is perfectly aligned with the skills I’ve developed through my previous job experience, and I’m learning so many new things every day. I feel blessed and confirmed to be working here. I appreciate the structure that I get in my day thanks to work. I always have a variety of things to work on – which I really need in order not to get bored. I appreciate being able to put my skills to use in making people’s lives easier.

Now that I’m working regularly, I feel like I have a firm foothold to be able to move on with my life, to progress, to better my situation, to serve humanity better. I like that.

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