As followers of Jesus, it’s important for us to embark on a career that we feel God has led us to. Many of us look for confirmation in the wrong place. We want a sign, a word, or clear direction from God to say “yes” or “no” to a job. I understand why. In the Bible, there are about a hundred specific examples of God calling people to something. Why not expect God to do the same for us, right? Wrong.
Let’s look at it in context.
The Bible spans through about 4,000 years of history (arguably), and there are a total of 3,237 people mentioned in the Bible over that period. This means only three percent of people mentioned received a specific word from God on taking action to do something. What’s more, there were an estimated 10 billion people who lived on the earth during this estimated 4000-year time period. Technically speaking, less than 0.000001% of all people on the planet have a recorded, specific calling from God to do a particular job.
(All numbers from Gordan A. Hunt of Stanford University from BibleResources.org)
BOTTOM LINE: God rarely gives people distinct directions to do something like a job.
Can He audibly speak to you or give specific instructions about a job? Sure! Is it wise for us to expect it? No.
How do we determine when it is wise for us to take a new job? We use the mind God has given us to examine the opportunity against how He has made us and the commands of His word.
Does the new job have these four things?
Money: Are we able to provide for our family and ourselves through the income provided? Are we able to give, save, and live better with this new opportunity versus our current one? Though income is important and can be praiseworthy, it is not the most important thing to consider.
Affirmation: Does the new job provide the chance to grow? Will I become a master of a craft? Will I get better as a professional and as a person at this new job compared to my current one? Will the people here encourage me and lift me up? You were created to contribute. A job that allows you to contribute now and grow your contributions in the future is a big deal.
Freedom: Does the new job allow me the autonomy to work at my best, or is there excessive micromanagement? Are there opportunities for freedom in the schedule to better harmonize my work life and home life? God has put us in a free world with free will, and we thrive in autonomous environments with the proper affirmation. Does the new job give this to you?
Purpose: Does this new pursuit allow you to positively impact people? Are you able to make the world a better place through your work? Does the new company have a mission that revolves around serving others? Again, you were created to contribute. We are at our best when doing work that matters. Evaluating the impact your work has on the world is a key component.
Does the new job allow you to better love God and people?
This is why we exist. We were made to love God and love His people. Not because He needs us, but because He wants the most for us. We and others have more enjoyable lives when we do what we were made to do.
Ask this question: “Which job allows me to love God and love people better?“
This may be the most important thing to consider as you evaluate changing occupations. If the new job allows you to love Him and others better than your current operation, there is a good chance the new job is right for you.
It’s unlikely we will receive a direct call to a specific job. While we should pray for guidance, waiting around for a specific word from God is not a good idea. God has made us for community (affirmation), to thrive with autonomy (freedom), and to do work that matters (purpose). A job with these three things and allowing us to love God and people better is worth considering!
As you ponder new employment, remember this:
God cares more about what we do with our vocation than what vocation we choose.
Whether it’s a new job or one you’ve been at for years, you can make the most of what you are doing. You can make your work a ministry no matter where you are!