It is the end of another school year, and hundreds of thousands of new college graduates will venture off into the wonderful world of full-time employment. Many will pursue dreams that they have envisioned their entire lives. Some will be lucky to land an opportunity that places them on this trajectory, while others will be left in less-than-ideal circumstances – perhaps even without a job at all. There is also a large portion of this population who has no idea where to even begin looking, as they are still uncertain what they want to do with their lives.
These are scary, exciting, and stressful decisions that young people have to make. As Christians, we are told to seek God’s guidance in all situations and cast our burdens on Him. However, this often has the potential to be more worrisome than helpful, with people becoming fixated over God’s “calling” in their lives. Is God calling me to be a high school teacher? A police officer? A nurse?
Yet, sometimes these “sure-fire” callings never materialize. The future professor does not get into a Ph.D program. The lawyer-in-waiting does not pass the bar exam. The newly hired businessman gets fired from his job. This leads to all sorts of anger, frustration, and questions. Perhaps American society’s obsession with vocation has conditioned us to think this way. A person’s job becomes synonymous with their identity – often leading to excessive pride or dangerous depression.
The great truth, however, is that God does not call us to a job – at least not in the way that we think. In fact, he cares very little about what your business card says or how full (or bare) your resume is. No, God instead calls us to a mission field. He calls us into relationship with himself and others. God’s command is for us to “make disciples” and grow his kingdom. He wants us to impact people’s lives – whether in a job or not.
Certainly, this does not mean that people should be unemployed. After all, God calls us to work. This is clear throughout the Scriptures, and was part of his design for us from the beginning. We cannot lose focus though, of what our true purpose is.
And so to those who are searching for a job or figuring out what you want to do with your life: Figure out what your gifts and talents are. Find ways that you can use them to help people. Pursue a ministry before you pursue a job. Widen your realm of possibilities and step through the doors that are opened.
To those who are in a less-than-ideal circumstance: Be encouraged that your job does not define you. Recognize the usefulness in what you are doing. Figure out what group of people (youth, elderly, unchurched, etc.) you are passionate about reaching for Christ’s Kingdom and take steps to have an impact on them, whether it be during work hours or not.
To those who are in a great job: Understand that your job is not your identity. All titles will be striped away one day, and Jesus will look at your service. How have you served the Kingdom, and how many lives have you changed?
Living out this truth is much easier said than done. All people are bound to struggle with these things at some point in their lives. But we can rest assured that God has a plan for us and is working all things together for our good – no matter where our career takes us.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19
God’s command is for us to “make disciples” and grow his kingdom. He wants us to impact people’s lives – whether in a job or not.