Jesus said “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friend and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:3-7
At some point in life, all of us get frustrated with our jobs. If we were to give ourselves a job-satisfaction rating, it is doubtful that any of us would score 100%. In fact, for many of us, that rating would be much lower. There are lots of people who strongly dislike their jobs. Is there an answer for how long you should stay with your job if you are not satisfied in it? Believe it or not, the Bible has an answer for us as to what percentage of satisfaction we should take away from our jobs, and the number is astonishingly low—it is ONE PERCENT!!! That’s right, one percent.
Jesus said in today’s scripture that if one sheep is lost and the shepherd finds that one sheep, he will rejoice more than over ninety-nine sheep that never left. The other ninety-nine sheep may be compliant, or indifferent—perhaps they have made no impact on the shepherd and he has made no impact on them. But when there is the opportunity to help one or save one, this is what brings the shepherd joy. Because the job of the shepherd is not just to herd the sheep around but to care for them.
The job of a teacher is not just to babysit students but to teach them. Many teachers lament that students today are apathetic and disinterested. Based on this Biblical teaching on satisfaction, if you are a teacher and one student out of one hundred really loves the class and wants to learn, you have to learn to rejoice in that even if nine-nine students are apathetic.
Lawyers have difficult clients, doctors have difficult patients, we all deal with difficult people. If even one percent of the people we deal with are enthusiastic, we are supposed to take joy from that.
Now, honestly, most of us have much more than one percent job satisfaction rating. Thus, if your rating is more than one percent, you’ve exceeded the standard Christ told us should bring us joy.
I can say personally that my job satisfaction rating is much more than one, though it is much less than one hundred. I am very joyful when a “lost sheep” returns to the fold. It is very encouraging to find lost sheep. However, as I have written before, I try to focus on effort, and not necessarily the results. Because on a given day, I may not be able to find the lost sheep. But I can control my effort in searching.
So the message for today is, do your best. If you find the lost sheep, rejoice. If you can’t find the lost sheep today, give your best effort and be satisfied with that. And if you have one star student, one star patient, one star client, one star customer, do not have sorrow over why it is only one and not one hundred. Use the standard of Christ, and rejoice for the one.
Lord, thank You for the gift of (your job, or jobs). In my work, may I always give the best effort, to those with whom I work, to those for whom I work, and I always give my best effort for You, my God for whom I work. Help me to be patient in the moments when satisfaction is hard to find. Help me to be grateful and joyful in the moments when I find “the lost sheep.” Please put people in my path who will be joyful and enthusiastic. May I also be joyful and enthusiastic around those I meet as well. Amen.
Give your best today, and be satisfied with your best effort!
The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! There you may find a database for past prayer team messages as well as books by Fr. Stavros and other information about his work and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.