In a recent article in Christianity Today on the increasing threat of automation in the workforce, authors Kevin Brown and Steven McMullen highlighted an expression from author and columnist David Brooks, who has talked about the difference between résumé virtues (marketplace skills) vs. eulogy virtues (human goodness and character) (“Hope in the Humanless Economy,” Christianity Today, July/August 2017, 36).
We as Christians are not to put all of our thoughts and energy regarding our lives and livelihood into the résumé virtues basket. Jobs change, skill sets become obsolete and our careers need not define who are at our very core. As followers of Christ, we, instead, need to focus on the eulogy virtues, those things that we have learned from our Savior about showing unconditional love to others, serving in humility those around us and being respectful and genuine toward one another.
Jesus himself lays out the qualities of eulogy virtues to strive for in his Sermon on the Mount. “Seek first his kingdom,” he says regarding all the pursuits and cares of the world, “and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Our value should not be wrapped up entirely in our jobs. Our jobs are simply a means to an end, a way for us to support ourselves and our families so that we can live out our Christian virtues in response to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross.
I am often reminded after a hard day at work, that at my funeral, no one will remember any of the nitty-gritty details I worked through at my job. But they will remember how I treated others in the doing of my work, how I reached out to someone in need, how I reflected Christ in my friendships and my relationships. Those of the activities that should receive priority.
That is not so say that you should not work hard at your job. It is just to say that you should not make it the pinnacle of your entire identity.
Your relationship with Christ and your relationship with others are what matter most in this world, and they are what matter most to God.
In the end, it is not what we have accomplished in our jobs that will pave the way to heaven. It is the faith we have in Jesus, who suffered and died for us that we might live forever with him.
Our goal, then, even at work, is to orient ourselves and point others to Christ.
Even if robots one day take over our jobs, we as Christians need never be afraid because we know that robots don’t rule our lives, our Lord and Savior Jesus does.