Career, Calling, and/or College, does the Bible have anything to say on this?

As a mom, I am always thinking of things I want to teach my children, and discussions I want to have with them.  Life moves so fast, and my children grow up so very fast.  I hope I have spoken all the words they need to hear up to this point in their lives, and I hope I have blessed them with all the training that they need.  But, just in case, I’d like to write important things down here, so they can read them, and maybe someday their children can read them.  I definitely do not have all the answers, but I have learned a thing or two about life, and I’d like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with my Creator and His Word.

A topic on my mind lately, as many of my children are now adults, some starting young families, some just getting married, and others just finishing their high school education, is the question, “what should I do for a job?”   I am going to write this post as if I am writing to my sons and daughters.  People are always going to ask you this question.  “So, what are your plans now that you are done with high school?”  “Oh, what line of work are you in?”  “are you thinking of getting more school/training?”  “What do you do?” Etc.

Another way of asking this is, “Where do you see God calling you?”  “Do you have a passion or interest that God is leading you in?”  “You are so talented, how do you plan to use those gifts for God?”

Usually, people are not being nosey or pushy, but rather they are showing interest in your goals, dreams, and future.  Most people ask these questions with sincere interest, and want to be an encouragement in your life.  But, these questions can be hard to answer, especially as a young adult, but even now as I am almost fifty, I find these questions difficult at times.

Just the other day, a lady asked me where I work.  I wasn’t sure what exactly she was asking, and in that split second I had a half dozen answers run through my mind.  At home, I am a wife, mother, homeschooling mom, want-to-be farmer.  At MICHN, Michigan’s state homeschool organization, as a doula, at my church, etc.  There are many answers, and there are many other interests I have.  But, who I am, and the most important work I do is for my God and for the family of God.

I got to thinking about this question, and wondering if the Bible has anything to say about our “job” our “calling” our “career.”  There are people I have met in life who have told me they are called to be a farmer, a pastor, a missionary, a doctor, a teacher, and often following that statement they say something about how that particular calling is noble, hard work, and under appreciated, and a life calling of poverty.  I  don’t know if those things are true or not, but I do know that God does call people to ministry.

His Word is clear about a few very specific “callings.”  I want to take a minute and point out God’s clear plan for all men and women of God.  These are His Words, not mine.

 Love Yehovah, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Mark 12:30)

God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, requires that He be first in our lives above everything else, and that everything we say, do, and have is for Him and all about Him.  So, when you look at your life you must ask is my time all about God?  Is my life all about God?  Is my possessions all about God?  Is my job all about God? My husband, Jeremy works for a company in the IT department.  he has been with the same company for over 20 years.  He is a excellent employee, and is always getting a deserved raise at his annual reviews.  This job that he does for the company is NOT his calling, it is not his passion, yet it takes up almost fifty hours or more of his week.  Why does he do a job that isn’t his calling or passion, that takes up so much of his time, because it is how he pays for his calling.  What is his calling?  It is to raise up Kingdom Builders.  That is why he goes to his job each day.  Not to find meaning, purpose, or happiness in his daily workplace, but to afford to do the things God has clearly given him to do.

 Love your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:17-18, Mark 12:31)

This commandment is about loving everyone.  Everyone is your neighbor.  We are to treat people the way we want people to treat us.  This is the person in the car next to us, the grocery clerk, the rude kid next door, and the government officials, too.  Our choices in how we conduct our lives daily should reflect a love for God, and all who bear His Image, even if we don’t think they deserve to be loved or respected.  In business and in our home life the way we talk about people should not be filled with sarcasm, and distain, but rather love and compassion.  This is not just a calling, but a command.

Love Your Brothers and Sisters. (John 13:35,15:12-13)

Love is patient, kind, and forgiving.  Love doesn’t put our ideas, plans, goals, and dreams above the command to love others.  We have to ask ourselves is this hobby, this career, this “calling” more important to me that how I care for the people God has placed in my life?  If you are so stressed over schooling, training, and/or climbing to the next wrung on the company ladder that you have no patience for your friends and family then you may need to re-evaluate your goals and plans.  This isn’t to say that God doesn’t want you to do the things you are doing, but if it keeps you from walking in obedience to the command to love your brother, then you need to make some changes.  This is not just a calling but a command.

Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25-29:1 peter 3:17)

Christ died for us.  Christ gave up His place on the Eternal Throne to come here to live as an example to us of what true humility is.  Christ did not think these people are too stupid, too crazy, too annoying, too dramatic, too selfish.  No, when he came He came and called unto Himself men who were not perfect, but were teachable.  He trained disciples that were flawed how to love even the least of these.  If you are a husband, or want to be a husband, you need to realize that your to love your wife like Christ loves.  Christ cherished the church, and you are to cherish your wife.  Even on her worst days, you are to treat her with grace, compassion, forgiveness, and honor.  You chose her, and therefore, you need to cherish her.  No matter how independent and strong your wife appears most days, she is fragile and she needs you to care for her and be tender with her.  This is your calling according to scripture. 

Wives respect your husband. (Ephesians 5:22-25: Titus 2:4-5)

Daughters, being a wife is hard work.  Some days you will adore your husband, and some days you will think he is the smartest, funniest, and handsomest man ever.  But there will be days that you are disappointed in marriage, days that you feel lonely, days that you feel used.  Guess what?  Your spouse feels those same feelings at times.  Marriage is made up of two imperfect people.  There is no getting around this truth.  Your “job” as a wife is to encourage your husband to be exactly whom God created Him to be.  Help him see his full potential.  You are to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  If you really believe that God’s Word is true then you are the first example of that truth to your children.  They are watching your marriage, and your life.  This is not an easy calling, but it is your true calling according to scripture.

Love your children, teach your children, and do not exasperate them. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Ephesians 6:4)

It is a parents job, both the mother and the father, to train up their children.  This isn’t just about correcting bad behavior, but rather it is about modeling and teaching correct behavior.  A wise friend of mine told me many years ago, we can not expect our children to behavior differently than we behave.  If you are short tempered, sarcastic, and on edge with your spouse, friends, co-workers, parents, and children then expect that your children will copy that behavior.  If you have no time or energy for your family, and are always irritated by them it is a good sign that you have something wrong in your life.  Worry, anxiety, and frustration spreads like a wild fire in California.  So, take account of your priorities and ask yourself will I be at peace with how I treated my children and how they treat me, when they are my age.

I could add more examples to this list but to be honest these are more than enough.  I, as a woman, wife, and mother, find this is a huge calling, a huge task.  I sadly fail at my calling often.  But, I love my calling, and I am so grateful to know what God’s Word says about who I am and what I was created to do and be.  It is true I have some gifts and talents and propensities.  I am grateful for skills and training in certain areas.  I am also grateful for the experience and knowledge God has given me to make me the person I am today.  But, ultimately all of these things are for His Glory and His Divine purpose, and His Kingdom.

When I was young, everyone had a career suggestion for my future.  Lawyer, nurse, teacher, politician, waitress, care giver, and the list goes on and on.  But, in my heart, I just wanted to be who God created me to be, and most of all I wanted to be a good wife and mother.  I have had many jobs over the years, and I love working and serving.  I am grateful for the opportunities to do those jobs.  I am not saying that people can’t have meaningful day jobs.  Of course, we need people who are called to be doctors and engineers, and tradesmen, and store owners, and clerks.  But, I have not found a verse in the Bible that places a career or job above loving God, His people, and our families.

If your life is revolving around your “job”  then you may need to really pray and think if this is indeed what God wants you to be doing.  If your job consumes your mind even when you are not at it then you might need to pray about that.  If your job makes you short tempered, and irritable, then you definitely need to pray about that.  If your job is more important than your wife or children, then you have your priorities out of order.  If your next promotion is more important than how you treat others then you should be praying about that.  There is no noble career that is more noble than raising up children in the faith.

Ask yourself important questions.  “Do my children know that I value them more than my job?”  “Does my spouse know I love and cherish them above my work?”  “Is this work helping me be the person God has created me to be?”  Remember He created you to be a husband, wife, parent, servant, son, daughter, sister, brother, first.  He may have created you to be a mechanic, farmer, engineer, electrician, pastor, teacher, doctor, or nurse, too.  But he created you first to be a member of His Royal Family, and He has given us all clear instructions on how to be a member of His family.

So, work hard, and love even harder.

If you notice most of the pictures in this post are scripture from the book of Deuteronomy.  I personally think that if  you need to know the answers to a life question right away then you need to read the book of Deuteronomy.  This book is God’s summary instructions to His children just before He took them into the promised land.  Sadly, they, like us, failed to live as He called them to live.  Sadly they failed to realize that the meaning to life is not found in the things of this world, but in the relationships we have with our Creator, Redeemer, and His people.  If you are feeling lost, if you are unsure of what you should be doing in life, read the book of Deuteronomy and ask Your Heavenly Father to guide your steps.

Shalom

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