17 June 2010

Even the jobs we hate are acts of 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.
                          -Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas 33
Everywhere in the world, Bahá’ís are increasingly active in sharing Bahá’u’lláh’s message with others and working to put it into practice. The progress that has been seen, especially in the past four years, is quite remarkable. However, some parts of the world are advancing at a quicker pace than others. There are many reasons for this; and it varies from nation to nation, community to community. The United States Bahá’í community has always been one of the world’s most dynamic. It has had its tests and difficulties, but the fact remains that whenever the US Bahá’í community get its act together, its members tend to be staunch and energetic servants of Bahá’u’lláh. However, one obstacle that has consistently come up in recent years is that US Bahá’ís don’t tend to have a great deal of free time.

Like their countrymen, they are very busy people. They work long hours, pursue academic degrees, drive their kids to soccer practice, and do their best to squeeze in another study circle. US Bahá’ís have no shortage of love for Bahá’u’lláh. So it can be immensely frustrating when they want to teach children’s classes, animate junior youth groups, hold devotional gatherings, or tutor study circles, but simply can’t because there’s not enough time in the week to do it. Economic necessity puts a lot of constraints on what things we can and can’t cut from our lives. So often it’s Bahá’í activities that have to get cut. When this happens, and many of us can attest to this, our jobs and studies can become a great burden upon our souls. It’s easy to resent those parts of our lives that obstruct us from fuller service to the goals of the Universal House of Justice; and I think that resentment can poison what opportunities we do have to offer voluntary service in our free time.

Consequently, I think it would be very helpful for us to meditate on and strive to internalize Bahá’u’lláh’s statement that he has elevated engagement in an occupation to the rank of worship. To the extent that each of us internalizes this mindset, engagement in those daily tasks will lighten our souls rather than burden them. They will energize us for service, not drag us down. Bringing about such a transformation is, no doubt, very hard. There are enormous, deeply rooted habits inculcated in us from the broader society that stand in our way.

But what if we succeed? What if walk into work every day, and while doing whatever we are doing, we are conscious of it as an act of worship to God? It would be wonderful. Every little bit counts. Whatever success we do have at bringing about this mindset would have inspiring results.

1 comment:

  1. Man, I really needed to hear this. Thanks for the message. Baha'i Coherence is really rockin'.