The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and work. Interviews are condensed.
Elesa Binner is a paralegal at a small law firm in Roanoke, Virginia. For those on the outside, a career in law often correlates with pursuing truth, righting wrongs, and serving justice—the stuff of courtroom dramas and fast-paced thrillers. For Elesa, though, working in family/domestic law is a way to reflect the kindness and compassion of God.
How would you describe your work?
I am a paralegal in a fast-paced environment that sometimes requires long hours and short breaks. My position includes scheduling calendars; working with opposing counsel and the court to set depositions, hearings, and trials; and drafting letters of representation throughout trial. Since a simple mistake could make a devastating impact on the lives of others, I have to be focused, time-efficient, and extremely detail-oriented. I take this responsibility seriously and trust God to guide me through the details of my work.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
Two-thirds of our firm’s practice is in family and domestic law, which means I function in an environment where the underlying issues for most of our cases have been escalated through sin—infidelity, greed, selfishness, dishonor, and so on. One way my work reflects God’s work is through sharing care and compassion for our clients through incredibly difficult times—divorce, custody fights, visitation issues, and child and/or spousal financial battles. Although I have to remain cautious and objective in my role, I pray for my clients and speak gently and kindly with them, letting them know that I am here to help.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
My work puts me at the core of other people’s dilemmas. I see a lot of destruction, hopelessness, and lost senses of worth. I see dreams ripped to shreds and families struggling to understand why their world is falling apart. I try to learn from what I witness around me, looking to the brokenness as a means to strengthen my faith. My life is not perfect, by any measure, but the love of the Lord supersedes the weight.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
The majority of my interactions with people are through phone calls, emails, and letters, which means the opportunities to show love are not as obvious as they might seem in other jobs. I strive to be a faithful servant to my employer and believe I show love to our clients by the diligence of my work to help them through the difficulties they are facing. I try to be a light to others and see their desire to improve and overcome. Do I love them? Absolutely. In Christ, I love them all and serve them through my daily work, my care, and my prayers.