Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran served as Junior Engineer with Public Works Department (PWD), Tamil Nadu Government and God called him to ministry. He served as missionary in Haryana from 1986-1997. Since 1997 he has been based in Chennai and is involved in training leaders. He has done his theological trainings with B.D., M.Th. and Ph.D. He has been trained in Coaching and Mentoring, Church Management from renowned global leaders. Presently he serves as trainer and consultant with several organizations like: Trainers of Pastors International Coalition – India, Glocal Leaders Network, Christian Institute of Management, National Prayer Network, Chennai Transformation Network, Mission India and has trained leaders from several organizations like ICGM, Intermission, Mission India, FMPB, IEM, TTM, World Vision, IPC, Christian Assembly, NSM, JMA, ..etc. He has authored several articles and three books: 1. “Christ and Cities” 2. “Christ and Missional Leaders.” 3. “Christ and Transformational Missions”.View all articles by Dr. J. N. Manokaran
The economic recession around the world has made millions of young people to lose their jobs. As the recession impact gains momentum, there have been reports about young people becoming alcoholic, drug addicts, joining robber gangs, committing suicides…etc. Now, unemployment has become a global issue. This is not just an economic problem as media portrays, it impacts all aspects of the life of a person.
Loss of income
I was travelling from Mumbai to Chennai, and that was the time I lost my job and was looking for another job. A girl who was crying sat next to me, facing the plane window. I asked her, what was the matter? She was reluctant, but said that she lost her job and was going to her home. She was perplexed, shocked and confused. Her problem was, how will I break this news? For her younger siblings were dependants on her for their education. Parents, who were old, saw her income as welcome relief. Her basic question was: “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Where will we live?” For her, the whole world was shattered and there was bleak future and no hope. The financial income that could cover their family basic needs disappeared suddenly.
For similar circumstances like this, Lord Jesus taught his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:25-32) Lord Jesus drew his disciples attention towards subhuman beings: birds and nature: Lilies. The creator God is concerned about the sub-human beings that he makes provision for their food daily. And they simply trust the creator and search for food and they get it. When a person knows God as our Heavenly Father, and trusts his provision and care; is delivered from economic bondage.
Loss of identity and self worth
When a person is without job, it also creates an ‘inferiority complex’ in their minds. They do not feel that they are worthy to live, eat or enjoy. Sometimes, elders in the family, criticize them as ‘busybodies’, ‘worthless’, ‘useless’, ‘unproductive’, ‘parasite’ …etc. These words make them hurt and to condemn themselves.
In modern global market economy, a person’s worth is determined by a person’s ability to buy and be a consumer of products and services. So, there is a rat race to earn more and more so that they could consume more and more in other words become a Valuable Consumer. A person’s job or profession provides the identity for a person in the market economy. When a person loses his/her job; for practical purposes loses his/her identity. Without a professional or job or career identity, a person loses dignity and self-worth. No mall would welcome a jobless person.
Having an identity that is defined by temporal things like job or bank balance or education or assets is like building house in sinking sand. These extensions (or relationships) of any person’s personality could be easily shaken or removed in a day. So, when a person loses a job, it seems the whole world has collapsed.
The need is to have an identity that is permanent or eternal and not related to material things but a person. The radical offer of Lord Jesus Christ to have personal relationship with him is eternal. The historical Christ is also Contemporary Christ. Then the identity of the person is ‘child of God’ who created the Heaven and the earth and eternally rules over them. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
Loss of sense of belonging
A job also gives a person a sense of belonging. If the company or firm has a great reputation, then employees take great pride in identifying with their employers or institutions or companies or firms. When the job is lost, they feel alienated and lose the sense of belonging.
Even in the work environment colleagues provide a sense of belonging. A peer group offers friendship. The friendship provides a kind of social support, emotional support and practical help. Job loss creates a vacuum which is a sense of loneliness.
Being part of small prayer group or bible study group or cell group provides a sense of belonging. The intimacy, shared love, prayers, and shared burden provide a sense of belonging to the small group.
Loss of life purpose and social life
A person without gainful employment does not have the sense of purpose or meaning in life. He thinks that he is not contributing for the welfare of society or family. In a way, s/he develops a guilty conscience. Life becomes monotonous, mechanical and without joy. It is necessary to love the job we choose. Some people choose job not for meaning, but for money or other reasons. They will not be able to enjoy the work they are doing. “So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22) When a person is performing God’s plan in his life, God will enable him to see the fruit of his labour.
Loss of job has holistic effect on a person. It affects the core of the personality. But for a person in Christ, life is adventure and exciting. A healthy identity for a person is in relationship with the living and loving Saviour Lord Jesus Christ. This sacred relationship assures of all basic needs being met by the Heavenly Father. The meaning in life is to know and do God’s will in life. When a person belongs to the Family of God (Church) he could have a sense of belonging, which demonstrates God’s love in practice.