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Are you pursuing your career or your calling?

As a location leader at the Living Hope Maryville Campus, I have the unrivaled privilege of pastoring the people that God has placed under my care.  With this privilege also comes much responsibility.  One of those responsibilities is helping God’s people pursue God’s calling for their lives individually and as a church collectively.

The Living Hope Maryville Campus is predominantly college students and recent graduates.  It’s not uncommon for me to ask Living Hope members what they plan to do when they graduate.  The answer I usually get is that they will go wherever they can get a job.  That’s a heart-breaking response. 

career vs. calling

Serving the Wrong Master

The problem with this response is that it demonstrates that the person giving it is (possibly unintentionally) serving the wrong master. (Luke 16:13) This reply indicates that a person’s career is dictating his life instead of his calling.  It shows that the person is submitting primarily to her job when she should be submitting only to Jesus. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Does that mean that it’s wrong to pursue a career?  Not at all, so long as it’s the career that God has called you to at the time he has called you to it.  It does mean, however, that we should be asking an entirely different set of questions.  Instead of asking “where can I get a job?”, we should be asking: Where does Jesus want me to be?  And, what is God calling me to do next?

Submitting to Jesus

Submitting to Jesus isn’t always easy.  It sometimes means doing things we don’t want to do, living somewhere we don’t want to live or working a job that isn’t even in our career field.  This, however, is always our best option because it is the option that grows our faith, increases our joy and prepares us for what God has next.  (Luke 9:23-25; Matthew 13:44)

If you’re approaching graduation, retirement or a family move, please submit to God’s calling instead of your career.  Open your life up to a community of believers, ask them to help you determine God’s call for you and to shape you for it.  If it’s not clear, hang tight for a while longer than you originally intended.  Don’t leave a healthy, missional community of God’s people for a career that might deter you from God’s calling.  Stay put until God makes it clear (with the help and consensus of other godly people) which direction to move next.  (Acts 15:28; Hebrews 13:7, 17)

Be willing to make adjustments to your life plan, put your career on hold or even work in a field entirely unrelated to your major. Wrestle with God, identify your calling and submit to Jesus.  Always, always, always pursue God’s calling instead of your career.  It will be more difficult, but I guarantee it will be more rewarding.

Have you ever put a career on hold to pursue your calling?  If so, what did God do?  You can leave a comment here

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  1. Steve Miles
    October 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM | #1

    My wife and I were both trained as teachers. We have taught some, but our lives have been devoted to serving Jesus where ever he calls for the past 27-years.
    Jesus is our treasure. His love is what compels us forward. It has not always been easy, and it is seldom financially lucrative to pastor and care for the church, but it is a massive privilege and honor.
    Our college education has not been in vain. Instead it has often been God’s means of provision and opportunity for ministry at the same time. We planted a church in a small town and the first five years as we were pioneering the work I taught full-time and served the church. Later Annette began to teach full time and I was able to devote my energies to the church.
    Even now as we are leading a location in a multisite church Annette and I substitute teach to connect to the community and to it is part of God’s financial provision for us.
    Trust Jesus with the script of your life. He is the author and will is writing a grand story. You are not the main character in the story, but he is. You are carefully and tenderly written in to his big story, let him direct and you will find great reward and great adventure.

  2. October 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM | #2

    That’s outstanding, Steve! It’s so important to remember that Jesus writes us into his story. Thanks for the insight.

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