For some reason, I have been in the midst of discussions with a number of business and personal friends who are engaged in the process of changing jobs. In some instances, this change involves looking for a new position after having lost or completed a prior job. And in several cases, people I know have been promoted and are contacting me to assist them with the transition into their new roles and responsibilities.
As most of you know, I have spent most of my career assisting people who were in career transition and it is one the passions that I have in my life – helping others to work at the intersection of their competencies and where God designed them to be. I am a firm believer that God doesn’t waste anything and, that being the case, I don’t think people are moved from position to position until they have learned the specific lessons that God intended them to master from their experiences.
And it certainly is a test of a person’s faith and patience to wait on the Lord to reveal what the next steps are to a fulfilling career. It is important to realize that this exercise includes the difficult work of trying to do the best job you can do to locate a suitable position. But let’s face it – while the work may be up to you, the result is up to God. You can do everything “right” but if you aren’t in the will of God, then it’s just not going to be your day. It could even be that God will answer a prayer that you have sent to Him, but be careful what you ask for – it may not be answered in the way that you are expecting. How many people in the Bible found that out during their lifetimes!
When you eventually get that new position, one of the first things that you should be asking God is what the lesson is that you are supposed to learn in this next assignment. Is it kindness, patience, trust, hope or some other aspect of the Christian life? And how can you work to develop the people around you who are your new charges? It is important to remember that our jobs and our careers are what we do – not who we are – that identity comes from belonging to the family of God.
It is important to be prepared for a tough road ahead. The greatest growth in the Christian life comes during times of adversity and I don’t want to gloss over the magnitude of the lessons that you can learn during the tough times. One thing is for sure – adversity may not build character but it certainly reveals it and we all can benefit from continuing to become more disciplined and more responsive to our fellow human beings. By all means, stay the course. Always remember that God knows your need!
The Bible is full of people who experienced career transitions. Moses, raised in the house of Pharaoh, changed jobs several times until God gave him the assignment of leading the people of God to the Promised Land. Or Abraham, who at the age of eighty, was told by God to leave his homeland and start walking – God would tell him when to stop. What faith it must have taken for Abraham to be obedient to that call on his life. Or Ruth – the young woman who refused to leave her mother-in-law Naomi, was eventually married to Boaz – and became one of the ancestors of King David in the lineage of Jesus Himself!
The disciples also left different walks of life to follow Jesus. Peter and others were fisherman – Matthew was a tax collector. It doesn’t end there – Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was one of the most feared people of the time. He persecuted the Christians and it was only as result of his conversion experience on the road to Damascus that he became a proponent and devout follower of Jesus. This was one of the most unbelievable conversions in the Bible – and Paul was on fire for the Lord.
In the Old Testament, Esther was a Jewish girl who became a Queen and was instrumental in saving her people during a time of almost certain death for the entire Jewish population. Amos, one of the minor prophets, was a fig picker before he was chosen by God to speak truth into the lives of the people.
I could go on and on – it could even be said that Jesus was involved in the ultimate career transition. After all, while fully God, He came to earth in human form and became a carpenter during his early years before the advent of His ministry. Of course, following the crucifixion and resurrection, He returned to sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And He will eventually return to rule eternally after the completion of the Millenium and the time when Satan will be permanently vanquished to Hell.
So there’s no telling what each of us may be asked to do to fulfill our God given destiny. Whatever the case, there will be periods of celebration and times of adversity. In the end, God loves each of us and He affirms His plans for us in the book of Jeremiah. We are told, in Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”
My encouragement this evening is that God already knows every hair on your head and everything there is to know about you. So go with the flow and you will know when you are in your sweet spot. After all, God created you to make a valuable contribution and my prayer is that, if you seek Him with all your heart, you will fulfill God’s plan for your life. It doesn’t get any better than that. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…