In our present-day setting, a job is often seen as means to an end. Many people fall into the unending pursuit of accomplishing and accumulating bigger and better things and they see their professions as a means to that end. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong in advancing yourself in career or profession, the moment we make that our sole priority, and more so for the purpose of earthly comforts, then we have already begun to traverse down the wrong path. And when things don’t go our way or how we expected them to turn out, we become disillusioned, despondent and desperate. We lose focus on the important things in life such as family, health, relationships, etc. Some compromise on key values and settle down for mediocrity. Others blame God for the predicament that they have brought upon themselves and some others may even attempt to manipulate God to get what they want.
Your obedience and diligence to God’s calling is your contribution to God’s mission for the world.
A calling (or vocation), on the other hand, is much more than a job. Whilst a job can provide finances, security and meet basic needs, it can never truly satisfy us. But if our jobs, however menial or mundane they may be, are seen as part of something greater and grander that God is doing in us and through us, then that would bring immense joy and satisfaction on the inside and a genuine love and passion for all we do on the outside however tough or challenging it may be or get. For a Christ-follower the priority should be to look beyond a task, project or a day job and see how God is shaping us for something He wants to accomplish in and through us. The ultimate goal is that we don’t see the job as a means to earning money, securing our future, meeting personal goals rather that we see it as what God is doing in us, and through us for the good of ourselves and others. We ought to see all we do as important and in some way contributing to the greater good of the Kingdom of God.
A calling from God is beyond a job, rather to a vocation. And that vocation is encompassing all of life, including our day job. Tim Keller in his book, Every Good Endeavour says, “Our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests”. Seldom do we see it that way, but when we do, it liberates us from the tension, anxiety and confusion that often besets us. There is fresh energy, renewed passion, bigger vision and an undying enthusiasm to accomplish that which God has placed into our hands.
The biggest questions young minds have as they transition from studies to employment are—‘what does God want me to do with my life’, ‘what course of study should I take up and where’, ‘what profession would truly honour God’, ‘where should my focus now be for this season of my life’. These are all worth pondering and deliberating over prayerfully. But they shouldn’t create worry or anxiety in us.
Do what you love and do it well, but do it for the glory of God.
The Bible doesn’t dictate explicitly what we should do in life but gives us broad principles to live by. It doesn’t tell us whether we should become a doctor, engineer, teacher, scientist, etc. Rather, it tells us that in whatever we do we can bring glory to God and be involved in the establishment and growth of His Kingdom. Whatever and wherever God takes us and in all we do, we can be thankful to God, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:18). We can further ourselves in any profession that we are interested in or passionate about but learn contentment in that. Like Apostle Paul says in Phil 4:11–13, we ought to get to the point where we can say that we have learnt the secret of being content in every circumstance and more so because God gives us the strength to do so.
What we do at our workplace, or at home is as much sacred and significant as what one does at the altar in the church. Some are called to serve him in the sanctuary and others are called to serve him in the world. But there should be no distinction between what we do in the sacred or in the secular since we are all priests before God wherever we may be. Ultimately, we are all serving him because we love Him and are devoted to Him. So, rather than demarcate the sacred and the secular in our lives, we ought to always infuse the sacred into the secular. God places us in strategic places so we can be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world. Everything we do and in whatever role it may be is an act of worship and devotion towards God and a fulfilment of our part in God’s plan for the redemption of the world. Let’s never lose sight of that.