Answering the Question: What Do You Do?

Photo by Matt Knott via Photopin CC

“What do you do?”

This question should be banned from all party small talk.  I can never answer it adequately, and I always feel like I’ve left the most important part out of the discussion.

The intent of this question is to find common ground with a person about which one knows little.  Fair enough.  Unfortunately, the short answer to “What do you do?” immediately classifies and categorizes a person intellectually, economically and socially based on occupation.  We learn a lot about a person by knowing what he or she does for least eight hours a day, but hopefully we don’t stop there.

What we do with our lives cannot possibly be fully communicated by a title, profession, or job description, but that’s usually the only answer we’ve got.

Let’s take a more holistic look at what we do for approximately sixteen hours each day.

If you were to keep a log of each minute you spend each day, what would it reveal?  Be honest.  I did that once, and found it very illuminating.  It helped me to treat every day as a valuable resource to be invested wisely.  I watched far less television after that little exercise!Work boots from morguefile

Someday, we will all answer for what we did with our days.  God pays attention to everything we do.

Moses is not known as a Hebrew raised and educated as the adopted Egyptian son of Pharaoh, impressive as that might be, but as the leader of the infant nation of Israel.

David was a shepherd, a musician, a warrior and the greatest king of Israel.  God remembered him as the man after His own heart.

Paul is remembered as the most prominent and prolific apostle of the first century, not as a Pharisee or a tent-maker.

Jesus isn’t identified by his carpentry, although it must have been magnificent, but by his teaching, his miracles, and most importantly by his saving sacrifice on a rough wooden cross followed by his resurrection from the dead.

None of these characters are remembered solely for their profession.  Their value in God’s sight was far greater.

Someday, God will ask us this question:  What did you do?  I hope you will answer with more than an occupation.

What is your answer to that question?

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5 Responses to Answering the Question: What Do You Do?

  1. Helen Henderson says:

    This has always been a tough question for me since I did not have a career. It made me feel less than everyone else. I can now answer it with a lot of confidence saying God loves me no matter if I had a career or not. I do not think He is done with me yet! I am so blessed that I know He loves me that much!!

  2. More than anything else, I want my ultimate answer to be that I loved well. If I don’t love the kids I teach, there is no buy in. If I don’t love my children, they won’t listen or learn. If I don’t love my community, what can I possibly contribute? Oh to learn to love as He loves us…
    As always, great food for thought! Thank you! 🙂

  3. Larry Who says:

    The two questions I hate are: Where do you attend church? What do you do?

    I tend to mumble my way through both questions by saying something like, “We’ve been a part of the home church movement and I sometimes write, but isn’t that a new Chevrolet over there? I was in 4-H and like Oreo Cookies, what about you?”

    About 95% of the time, people ask questions, but in their minds, they’ve already moved onto something else. Yet, every so often, a person will ask a good followup question. Then, I will give them a bigger glimpse.

    And to be honest, I’m very good at answering party small talk without answering questions. Now, my wife, she’s a different story and believes every question should be answered in full. The party guests probably wonder why a nice woman, like her, is married to an odd duck like me.

    • Judy says:

      Ha! It sounds like your answers are similar to mine. When I do manage to get a decent answer out, I often get puzzled looks in response. I am thankful that God won’t be puzzled. And I like Oreo Cookies too:)

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