Since many of the memes on this theme are based on popular stories or movies, I came to realize that the theme of whether or not you do a job you don't believe in is common in our culture. The whole popular TV series M*A*S*H was about people who didn't believe in the war doing their job anyway. Some of the characters were obvious Conscientious Objectors who'd been drafted as doctors or medics, but they did their job anyway.
I thought back to older stories. How many are based on the theme of people doing a job they don't believe in. I finally got all the way back to the story of Jonah. Jonah is a story of a man who didn't want to do the job he was called to do. He really, really didn't want to do the job because he hated the people he was supposed to serve, and he really, really wanted them all to die a horrible death. In the end, after he tried unsuccessfully to run away, he did the job he didn't want to do. The people he hated repented and did not die a horrible death. He then sat down under a bush and whined about his disappointment that these people didn't die.
Jonah's story is a story about his religious belief coming into conflict with his job. He really believed that the people of Nineveh were horrible sinners deserving of death. Jonah's religious belief was right as far as it went. However, God wanted grace. This is where Johah's story meets contemporary themes. Jonah didn't believe in the job of telling the people of Nineveh to repent, but he did it anyway and God's grace prevailed. As I see the situation, God's grace is one of the elements the county clerk leaves out of her story. She doesn't want to do the job she doesn't believe in, and she refuses to allow God's grace into the story.
If we leave out the issue of what God wants, the theme still resonates with all of us. Every day we are called to do jobs we don't believe in or just plain don't want to do. We all stifle the urge to put someone down even when they deserve it, because our jobs demand courtesy. We pick up after others when we believe they should pick up after themselves. We find ourselves asking, "How does this clerk think she can get away without doing the job she is paid to do?" For some who are desperately seeking a job, the refusal of someone with a good job to do that job is especially insulting. We can even suggest that the clerk's refusal to do her job shows her lack of gratitude for a job that many, many unemployed would praise the Lord to have.
We all struggle with the problem of needing to do things we don't want to do. We question where the line between justifiable civil disobedience and criminal disobedience lies. I will suggest that the guideline has to do with your contract. If you are getting paid to do a job and you don't keep your end of the contract that is criminal disobedience. If you quit the job because of your beliefs and then picket the place of your employment, you are acting within your civil rights. Many people quit their jobs because of their beliefs. Many more will not take a job that conflicts with their beliefs. The problem arose in the case of the clerk because she did not fulfill her contract. She did not quit her job. And on a spiritual level, she did not let God's grace into her story. Personally, I'd like for our modern day Jonahs to allow God's grace to end the story.