A career (and life) advice from Jesus?

Don’t just be a hired worker who works for pay. Be a good shepherd.
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Recently, I started working with my high school classmate. You can call him one of my best friends, if not the best. Out of more than two hundred students in our batch, he was the only one who became my classmate for four straight years. He was also my basketball teammate during all those years and we even joined our school’s varsity team together during our last year in high school.

Working with him recently, one of the things I truly admire about his work ethic is that he gives more than what is required of him.

He does not act like an employee of the organization we are working with, but like a true partner who cares about its profitability, its growth, its reputation, and its long-term viability. He spends more time than required looking for solutions that can help our organization provide a better service for our clients.

How many employees like him can you find in your own organization?

Many times, when given a budget by our companies to have our lunches out at fancy restaurants, we take that opportunity, not even thinking about its impact to the company’s bottom line.

For many of us, we work only for how much are getting paid. We give just enough time and effort. For some of us even, we only go to work to get paid. I’m guilty of that as well.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us the difference of a good shepherd and a hired man who only works for pay:

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” — John 10:11-15

A hired man who works only for pay has no real love and concern for the sheep. He is like an employee who does not have real, genuine love and concern for the company he is working with.

A good shepherd, on the other hand, works for more than pay. In fact, he does not even get paid. He works because he loves the sheep and the one who entrusted the sheep to him. He works because of love. The good shepherd is like my friend who goes beyond the call of duty.

Today, Jesus reminds us to do more than what we get paid. If Jesus had a career advice, this would probably be it. Let us have real concern for the organizations we are working with. By giving more than what is required of us, by genuinely caring about our organizations, not only do they become more profitable, we also get ahead in our careers.

More importantly, Jesus reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep and we belong to Him. Not only was He willing to lay down His life for us, He actually laid it down for us. Because He loves us. Because He loves the Father who entrusted us to Him.

What further proof do we need that we are loved?

Finally, Jesus also reminds us to be good shepherds to our families, to the people He entrusted us with, and to our neighbors. Let us not serve them for our personal benefits, but be truly willing to lay our lives for them — like how Jesus laid down His life for us. Without expecting anything in return.

You have a Good Shepherd in Jesus.

Be a good shepherd to others as well. 

Don’t just be a hired worker who works for pay. Be a good shepherd — in everything that you do.