By Greg Gibson
In life, we spend a great percentage of our waking ours working. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we often find ourselves either feeling two ways concerning our work—idolatry or idleness. This series seeks to encourage us in our work.
QUESTION: How Should I Choose a Job?
- What does the Bible say about the process of choosing a career path or deciding to pursue a particular calling in my work?
- FIRST OF ALL: We should acknowledge that the entire concept of “choosing” a job is largely a modern Western concept. For the most of human history, work was something you did to survive, and often there were no options to consider. Most of the time, you did what your father or mother did, and that was the end of the story. If they were a farmer… built pyramids… a servant… you did what they did. If they worked at Kroger, you worked at Kroger.
- Here’s the deal, the options available to us today are much greater than they were in the past.
- There are a few things that have paved the way for us, and opened up the world to us, in a way that most people in history have never experienced:
- Specialization in fields, mobility, education, the breakneck pace of technological advancement, and the resulting explosion of industry means—for us—that “choosing a job” is likely something most of us will do multiple times in our lives.
- However, it’s rarely easy to choose a job.
- Young people struggle with this; older people struggle with this.
GOD’S WILL IN CHOOSING A JOB:
- I use to sit in my driveway when I was a teenager and bank my future on whether or not I would make or miss a shot? Did you ever do this nonsense too?
- I would say, “If I make this, I’m going to the NBA… when a million dollars… drive a sweet car… tip servers with Benjamins…
- Often times, we think of God’s will like that. So, what is God’s will? How do I choose a job? Is it his “will” for me to be an engineer or a teacher? Or choose this job opportunity or that opportunity? What should my career be?
- Here’s the answer… are you ready… YES!
- Both are God’s will. In a way, God’s will is to choose either option. But here’s exclamation point—don’t sin!
- Martin Luther said it this way, “Love God, don’t sin… and do whatever you want.”
- Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- God’s will, in my understanding of Scripture, is everything that is good, acceptable, and perfect. Goodness, truth, and beauty.
- God’s will is for you to bring order to chaos, beauty to ugliness, and goodness to a broken world… in Christ, through Christ and FOR CHRIST!
- SO, to answer the question theologically: Go choose a job (any job you want… work retail… teach… become a pastor… be a stay-at-home mom… engineer… doctor… go work at a factory…) and go bring light to all that is good, beautiful, and true!
- It’s called opportunity cost. If you choose A, then you don’t choose B, but that doesn’t mean it’s not God’s will.
- Why don’t we cast lots anymore? BECAUSE WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!
A ROADMAP FOR CHOOSING A JOB:
- What does the Bible say?
- Have I spent time in prayer?
- What are other people saying? (Proverbs says there is a multitude of wisdom in many counselors).
- What are my desires saying? (We often downplay our desires in decisions; God gives us our desires).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CHOOSING A JOB:
- We can make choosing a job a great idol in our life. How do I know it’s the “right job?” It’s also possible to fall into the trap of idleness in seeking a job. Practically, this might mean we fail to exercise discernment; we fail to pray and seek God’s counsel in our job search; we decide that any job will do. Both of these mindsets are obviously wrong.
- Here are few questions to ask in choosing a job.
THE MUST-HAVES IN CHOOSING A JOB:
- Does this job glorify God?
- Does this job permit me to live a godly life?
- Does this job provide for my needs and allow me to be a blessing to others?
- Does this job allow me to belong to a healthy local church?
THE NICE-TO-HAVES IN CHOOSING A JOB:
- Does this job benefit society in some way? (even if it’s a vaccum cleaner store… retail… dog grooming… you are benefiting society)…
- Does this job take advantage of my gifts and talents?
- Is this job something I want to do? In other words, am I passionate about the job?
FINALLY, THINK ABOUT CHOOSING A JOB IN THIS WAY:
- The world says you better find a good job, which pays a lot of money, and that you enjoy because this is THE KEY AIM IN LIFE.
- But the Bible says nothing of the sort; it simply states, “WHATEVER YOU DO, WORK AT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, AND NOT FOR MEN.”
Sourced throughout this article: The Gospel at Work, by Greg Gilbert
BIO: Greg serves as an elder and the family ministries pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN overseeing birth through college, as well as marriages. He is the Lead Editor of CBMW Manual. Greg received a M.Div. in Biblical and Theological Studies from SBTS and a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Boyce College.
He is married to the lovely Grace and is the father of Cora and Iver. An outdoor, CrossFit, and basketball enthusiast, he sleeps outside as often as he can.