Choosing the right vocation
A survey in Business Week magazine reported that only one out of six Americans is content with his or her job. That means that nearly 83 percent are dissatisfied. The most consistent complaint was a lack of fulfillment or long-term purpose.
Certainly, many Christians also fall within this large group of dissatisfied, fearful workers. Why? Primarily because their value system has been altered by worldly standards to a great degree.
Our society defines successful people as those with good educations, secure positions, and plenty of money.
However, the Bible says that successful people are those who serve God first, are of service to other people, provide for family needs, and are at peace with themselves and with contemporaries.
For Christians to accept non-Christian vocational goals is to invite future problems. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).
Regardless of the income, prestige, or security of a vocation, unless it truly merges with God’s will, unrest will persist.
The primary characteristic of those who successfully discern God’s will for their lives is that they continually seek to put God first. Most Christians experience doubts and anxieties when faced with major decisions. However, consistently putting God first eliminates most anxiety-producing decisions before they become crises.
Without exception, most people who are trapped in prestigious, well-paying jobs that don’t meet their inner needs spend their lives envying the very people who are envying them. “There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth” (Proverbs 13:7).
The only true way to find God’s direction is to seek it earnestly.
Most Christians do not sense His direction because of worldly pressures associated with the income, prestige, or security of a good job, or they sense it and then lose it by failing to act on it.
The best indicators of correct vocational direction for people are their basic abilities. God has endowed every Christian with unique abilities, desires, and gifts to accomplish His will through them (see 1 Corinthians 12). As Christians seek to truly serve God, the Holy Spirit will make known God’s perfect vocation for them.
Authentic vocations should not be based on our wills or our desires in life. A vocation is not doing what we want to do in our lives, unless of course it is also God’s will. Choosing the right vocation must include discerning what He wants for us in our lives.
As Christians, we have the advantage of knowing a certain future. Thus, we have the responsibility to orient our lives accordingly. In addition, we have the advantage of being able to see life from God’s perspective.
Therefore, it is vital to seek discernment regarding God’s plan. Because our decision must be based primarily on how we can best use our gifts and talents to serve Him, accepting nothing less than the vocation that will complement and extend that ministry is essential.
There is nothing wrong with a successful career; in fact, God promises great blessings. “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). However, attitude is the key ingredient in any vocational decision. Is the decision made by worldly standards—security, ego, income—or is it made to please and serve God and thus serve other people? “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
In choosing a vocation Christians must weigh their priorities very carefully, because when we are out of God’s priority guidelines, we are out of His will.
Christians can tell whether they are out of His priority system by asking the following questions.
1. Is my personal relationship with the Lord affected? This includes my time spent in God’s Word, in prayer, and in worship with others; and
2. Is my relationship with my family affected? This includes time spent with my spouse/child(ren).
Many vocational alternatives and options can be eliminated simply because they do, or have the potential to, conflict with these priorities. By evaluating every alternative and option through prayer and mature Christian counsel, Christians can guard against violating God’s laws while fulfilling life’s goals.
Originally posted 1/2/2013