There’s no question that economic and social factors as a result of the pandemic have changed the job situation for many. Even under normal circumstances, you might wonder if you are where God wants you to be.
Is there a right job for me?
Does my work really matter to God?
How does God work at work?
How much work is too much?
According to The Five Essentials to Engage Today’s Men Barna study, “Half of practicing Christian men who are currently employed report feeling satisfied with their career.”
Where does that satisfaction come from? Where does career fit into a healthy, godly life?
David Platt said, “One of our greatest needs in the church is an understanding of how daily work according to God’s word ties in with God’s ultimate purpose in the world.”
Start With Purpose
The purpose of work is multi-faceted, and we often progress through different “stages” in our work life, beginning with basic provision, moving on to passion, increasing to philanthropy, and graduating to purpose. Sometimes along this path it’s easy to think a job without passions or purpose is pointless, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert give us insight on vocation in The Gospel at Work. “It glorifies God when a Christian works hard to provide for his family and to be a blessing to others.”
Who’s the Boss?
We know that God made man to work. “From the moment God created Adam and Eve, He gave them work to do.” Though it might feel like it some days, it’s not just a result of sin. Work is ordained by God.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
“The whole big idea we’ve promoted in this book is the value of our work isn’t finally found at all in the particular thing we do: it’s found in the fact that whatever we do, we do it for our King.”
Confusion creeps in if we only ask the question, “What should I do?” As Christian men, we need to also ask, “Why do I do what I do?” or better yet, “For Whom do I do it?”
Ultimately, the purpose is to do everything to God’s glory, and we can fulfill that mission in whatever type of work he has called us to do.
Most full-time employed men spend a significant amount of time at work, and we want to make that time count for the Kingdom. Vocational pastors and missionaries are not the only ones who are working for the Lord.
“What matters is doing the work your King has given you to do – and doing it well.”
Check out one example shared by Tullian Tchividjian in The Gospel at Work.
Martin Luther was once approached by a man who announced he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?”
Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”
“I’m a shoe maker,” said the man.
“Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price,” replied Luther.
In becoming a Christian, we don’t need to justify our calling in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise our calling with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards.”
Authors Traeger and Gilbert are living examples of such God-glorifying motives in their respective occupations. Traeger has made his way in the business world, while Gilbert serves as a pastor. Both men are making use of their giftings, and even though they are fulfilling very different callings, “they have the same first responsibility – to follow Jesus and seek to honor Him in all they do.”
“Success is defined as faithfulness – doing whatever we do with sincerity of heart because we know the King is watching.”
The Gospel at Work lays a foundation for assessing our calling and finding the workplace balance between idleness and idolatry. It suggests answers to practical career questions we’ve all asked such as, “How Should I Choose a Job?” and “How Do I Balance Work, Church, and Family.”
The core principle remains that our first priority is being a disciple of Jesus Christ in all we do. Then we find true satisfaction, significance, and success.