How does a person choose what work they will do for most of their life? For many it is a matter of needing spending money when they are a teenager, and go mow a lawn for some quick money. Or put several applications in for work and go with the one that calls for a follow-up appointment. It is a matter of meeting someone else’s need. Then there are those who purposefully plan and train for a field of work they are most interested in for whatever reason. It might be the type of work, or it might be the location, or the amount of money the work brings in.
I am teaching an online course now where I am taking the Christian approach and asking questions most people will ask themselves at some point in their lives. What is work? What spiritual, physical, and financial purposes does it fulfill? God says it is good to work for He works, and we are made in His image. The Bible says those who don’t work, don’t eat: be responsible for yourself.
The Bible speaks of a calling on our lives. Primarily, the calling means to come to Him for spiritual rebirth. We don’t go to Him; He calls us. Secondly the calling can mean vocational calling to take our place in His work of making disciples and teaching the world about Him (Matt.28). There are many ways to do this other than be a missionary to Africa. It can be a school teacher teaching respect, compassion, and hope along with all the educational principles like reading, writing, and arithmetic. Or being a janitor, showing that organization and cleanliness are part of life and good for our self-image and worth.
The beautiful thing about vocational calling is God’s trust in us to help Him do the work that is so important to Him; taking care of His children. I’m amazed He lets me tag alongside Him and not screw things up royally. He even fixes the mess I sometimes make of things!
So how can we glimpse what would be our calling? It starts with what our talents are, the desires of our heart. He is tricky in causing us to want something so badly we are overjoyed when He lets us do it. I say to my students that if they follow their vocational calling, they will get up every morning excited about going to work, because it fits them and what interests them. As opposed to making yourself get out of bed, and grumbling about getting through the day intact. Or dreaming about the ween end.
Once a person sees a field they would like to go into, then comes the preparation. Some fields might seem out of reach, like medical school. Just remember if God wants you there, He will make a way for you to do it. Living by faith is scary, but an exciting way to live for it shows His power and trustworthiness. Even if some dreams obviously can’t be pursued because of circumstances, He can raise up another work for you that will be as satisfying.
Another issue I bring up to my students is how will your work bring glory or purpose to God’s work? Do you want the work to bring benefits to you alone? It won’t be as ultimately satisfying as when you do it for yourself and for others. Something shared multiplies the joy involved.
And don’t worry if you think you aren’t in the right line of work. Most people change at least five times in their lives, going on to other interests as something changes or another interest beckons. And that’s okay. That keeps it interesting. Peter and the disciples went from fishing (and other things) to a follower of Jesus, and onto writing, speaking, and other roles.