As we think about work at the 6pm, we're aware that unemployment is a reality that lots of us will face; voluntarily or involuntarily, either now or in the future. It leaves all those who face it feeling frustrated, vulnerable, uncertain, and knocked back in confidence.
Here's some wisdom from some at the 6pm who have faced unemployment- helping us think about how to deal with it if it comes to us, and how to love those for whom unemployment is a current reality.
Things we can be doing as Christians if we face unemployment
Pray. Even the most qualified professional may face unemployment, so you're not the only one. What's more, you've got an amazing church family to support you through it. But better than all that - you have a heavenly Father who cares for you. So talk to him about it.
Read. Regardless of how your job ended, this period of unemployment will force you to reflect on your relationship with God. With more time on your hands, it is an excellent opportunity to dig deeper into the word and study a book or two from the Bible. This makes unemployment an opportunity to get to know more of who God is, and grow in your relationship with Him. Digging into God's word also helps structure your day and gives you something regular to look forward to.
One to ones. If personal study during this quiet time is difficult, unemployment is also a great chance to get stuck into a ‘one to one'. ‘One to ones' are an excellent way to get into a Bible book and wrestle through the word with another Christian. This also helps give structure to your week, and hopefully gives you a prayer and accountability partner to support you through the frustrations of unemployment.
Work. Being jobless does not mean you're not ‘working'. Work is grim, frustrating, and futile (Gen 3:17-19), but all work is necessary, dignified, and good (Gen 2:4-17; Gen 1: 26 -29). To work is to not necessarily be in paid ‘work', so your unemployment is a great time to get stuck into volunteering in some shape or form either at church or elsewhere (1Thess 4:9-12; 5-14). This will help with structure and it'll give you something to look forward to every week
Get a job. Your job is to find a job. 2 Thessalonians is clear about not becoming people who are idle, and sponge off Christian generosity (2 Thess 3:6-15). It's important therefore to keep applying for jobs before you become a burden to the church family.
How the church can help those currently unemployed
Pray: continue to pray for them. Reassure them of your prayers.
Offer to do a one to one: as well as battling the frustrations of unemployment, unemployment leaves some finding it hard to pluck up the confidence to ask someone to do one to one with them. Offering to study the Bible together shows that you care, and are willing to invest time and effort in their walk with Christ. That means a lot, especially during this challenging period.
Help: offer to send their CVs to appropriate people for jobs. Don't be afraid to gently ask them about their finances. This is a reassurance of our church family's continued support. (James 2:15,16; Eph 4:15; 1 Thess 4:9-10)
Feed: offer to meet up for coffee or lunch. Be a good friend! It'll mean a lot!