Decision #3 - The Work You Choose
September 16, 2020
For the last few weeks we have been looking at life’s decisions. We have said that everyone makes only five to seven major decisions in their lifetime. The rest of the decisions are simply managing the ramifications of those five to seven decisions. You don’t have to live or observe life very long to see that this is true. We have chosen our personal world view and the choice of whether to marry, and if so, whom to marry.
This week we are thinking about the choice of our work. Everyone has to find a way to make their way in the world, and that leads most people to think about finding a job. To be truthful, most people would admit that for their first work experience or two, the main considerations were how much money can I make for not much time invested. However, if we don’t grow out of that perspective, work will always be a drudgery, and we will have nothing but the lowest level of work experience—a JOB. A job is simply the exchange of money for completing a task. That’s a very unsatisfying way to live—just doing a job, making it through the week until it is over and you get your pay. Often people who see their work as “just a job” not only have personal frustration, but it affects their lives in ripples. Their dissatisfaction runs over into co-workers and family members and friends. It creates ongoing problems.
If the work you do is currently “just a job,” there’s a way to change that. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men, because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.…” Working for Jesus, believing that you are honoring Him with your best work, will transform any ordinary job into something significant.
Generally, people who have chosen to develop a career have more satisfaction in life. A career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of time, with opportunities to better your life and make progress. You chose an area where you have skills and interests: like business, medicine, teaching, farming---anything where you can invest time, energy, and effort for an extended time period. Hopefully, it’s a place where you can see and have confidence that you are making a contribution. If you choose that, you can look across the span of your life and experience satisfaction at the ways your life has mattered.
Choosing to have a career will likely be accompanied by decisions about things such as schooling, whether or not you are willing to move for your career, and what your end goal is. A career is a choice to work in a place where you enjoy the work and have the skills, ability, and opportunity to spend most of your life there, progressing in your work and making significant differences in the lives of people.
There’s another level of work—it’s when your work is a calling. That’s not something just for professional ministers—it’s for all Jesus-followers. It doesn’t mean you are specifically “called” to a “religious” profession. It means that you do work that you are convinced is God’s plan for you. You are in this particular job, career, position, not because of the location, the pay, the position, the title, the notoriety, or the enjoyment. You are there because you believe God has planned and purposed that you be there to represent Him, build His kingdom, and contribute to the plans of God for this world.
A calling transforms any job into satisfaction, even if it is out of your sphere of giftedness or very temporary. When you believe that you are where you are because God has called you there, you can have faith that He will provide no matter what.
The best decision you can make as far as your work goes is to ask God to lead you clearly and then help you see that no matter how your paycheck is derived, you know He has put you there for this season. Don’t choose just for “perks”—there’s no perk like work that you know is what God has ordered for you.