Reflections by Jeremy Alger

One of my best friends is looking for a new job (he lives in Minnesota). He is working a job that he has no passion for, and he is constantly looking for job postings and updating his resume. He is doing job interviews on a weekly basis. He called me a few days ago because he had just received a letter letting him know that he would not be offered a job, and he was feeling the rejection of that moment.
I have been in times of underemployment as well as seasons of passionless employment. I know how those missed opportunities can sting. I also know that my friend and I are not the only people to experience this, and there are numerous people in that season right now.
So I wrote a little fable for my friend, and for anyone that is struggling to keep their chin up while they search for new employment. Here it is:
A young boy made his way into a board game festival one summer afternoon. Inside he found dozens of kids playing all variety of different games. He was invited to play any game that he was interested in.
The boy played checkers at first, but he didn’t win and after a couple of tries he moved on. Next he played Connect Four, but the other kids beat him at that, too. The boy played Go Fish and he lost. He played Monopoly to no avail. He played Battleship, and that was the one that sunk him. He had had all the losing that he could stomach, and finally the boy walked home.
He didn’t understand why he hadn’t won a single game. He was overwhelmed with sadness. If he wasn’t a winner that must mean that he was a loser. He got home and unceremoniously walked through the kitchen where his mother greeted him, “How was your day?”
“It doesn’t matter, I’m a loser.” He said, with every bit of the self-pity you can imagine.
His mother asked why he felt that way, and what had happened. The boy explained losing game after game. His conclusion was that he was a loser, and that made him worthless.
“Those games don’t get to decide what you’re worth,” his mother said. “Those games will never be able to know you, or understand you. Those are just details in this world.”
“You are not worthless to me. You are my precious son, whom I love very much. You are more valuable than any game!”
— We are taught by society that our job is our greatest indicator of our worth. If the news covers some event in a person’s life they will give their name, their job title, maybe their family situation, and perhaps the name of their town. Those details are all we know how to recognize and digest quickly. But we all understand that those biography details only tell a fraction of our stories.
Don’t let your employment status become the measure of your worth. You are made in the image of God! And He loves you so much that He sent his Son Jesus to die for you! Jobs come and go. Money does the same. But who you are and what you mean to the people around you is what really matters. Hang in there.
Jeremy Alger is the pastor of the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. They meet in person and online every Sunday. For more information please visit