Ever since I left the corporate world and entered seminary I have spent the better part of the last 20 years helping people understand their divine calling and assisting them to get from where they are to where God designed them to be. You see, I believe that there are at least two biblical truths that we must consider when we speak about careers and job change. In fact, many people don’t ever seem to give thought about these imperatives.
But here there are… First, I believe that God doesn’t waste anything. In other words, the experiences and work that you do today is preparing you for something bigger and better that God has in mind for you down the road. Since we already know that God doesn’t make mistakes, or waste anything, it stands to reason that God designed you to do something remarkable that you will do better than anyone in eternity past – or that anyone will do in eternity future. That means each of us has an important assignment – an important, unique, divine assignment!
Second, I believe that God will not move you to your next job or career until you have learned, or mastered, whatever God wanted you to do in your current assignment. In fact, most of us don’t realize that our true work is for God – He is our boss – not the person or people that you think you work for. Our goal is much bigger than that – to advance the kingdom of God on earth.
These biblical truths are particularly important in light of our daughter, Kristin, and her recent job change. For the past 15 years, she has worked with our little covenant children, writing curriculum and teaching them about the Lord as a staff member at a local Christian church. She has taught thousands of our “littles” and this past Sunday she finished her last day of work on that divine assignment.
June 1st she starts at a different church; this time she will be working with 6th graders through college aged students and will be in charge of designing programs and events that will reinforce their love for the Lord. Kristin is very excited about her new position – but she is also heartbroken about leaving her last assignment.
Kristin and I have spent some time talking about this recent chain of events. It really never occurred to Kristin, or to many of us, that following our divine calling is not necessarily always a happy occasion. God never promises us a life free from bittersweet events and many times, it can be painful to follow a plan designed by God. That is what Kristin has experienced with her most recent change.
As a parent, it is difficult to watch your child go through such an emotional roller coaster. So excited about a new, divinely mandated opportunity – yet so heartbroken about leaving a job where Kristin thought she would spend the remainder of her career – until retirement! The outpouring of love and grateful appreciation was almost without limit last Sunday during a moment of recognition during each of the three church services. And standing ovations were a part of the accolades that she received from parents, students and staff alike. I was, indeed, a proud father – watching her receive the heartfelt thanks of generations of people for a job well done.
After a few weeks of rest, Kristin will dig in again and start her new assignment – a divine calling, just like the others she has had. It is wonderful to see her so excited, encouraged and full of hope for the future. That’s what the Lord wants from all of us as we grow in our careers.
There are so many verses that we could use tonight to illustrate divine callings. For example, there is Jeremiah 29:11, one of the foundational verses we use in career transition work, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But I have chosen what I believe is the most important verse for us to remember when it comes to our careers and jobs. The apostle Paul, in his letter to his church at Colosse, tells us, in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
My encouragement this evening is that every Christian works for the Lord. And we couldn’t have a better boss. While it is encouraging to know that our call is divine, that doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer in the process. The key is to make sure that we listen and follow the leading of the Lord. My prayer is that we will all take time to assess our calling and to learn whatever it is that the Lord has in store for each of us! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…