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Does God Care About My Career?

Topic Business Leaders
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Does God Care About My Career?

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2024 might be the year of beginning a new job or looking for a new role professionally. As you explore your career options, I believe God cares deeply about your work. It's the one thing you'll give most of your waking hours to.

 

The problem is few of us have been taught how to integrate our work and our faith. So we settle. We trade time for money and count down the days until Friday and the years until retirement.

 

Over the past ten years, I’ve interviewed dozens of Christian business leaders and professional people and heard the stories of hundreds more. If you and I were sitting down for lunch to explore the next steps in your career...

 

I would distill my advice down to these ten things:

 1. Start with prayer.

 

Prayer is not a last resort, but a legitimate strategy. Prayer is where we start because God is where we start. We believe God cares for us like a perfect father so we bring all of our cares, even about money and work, to the one who cares for us. When we pray we acknowledge God is great and we need him. Prayer is a declaration of dependence. I have found that it’s not the perfect planning or preparation that lands people in their careers, but often the unexpected twists and turns of providence. God's hand is at work in our work. So we don't start with stress and striving. We are people who start with prayer.

 

Isaiah 64:4 says, "No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him."

 2. Look for your motivated abilities.

 

There are a few things we’re each good at and many more we’re not. When you think through your career look beyond the things you’ve been told by others that you do well, like math or engineering or communication. Your sweet spot will be the overlap between what you’re good at and what you’re motivated to do. These are the things you’ll stay up late thinking about it, get up early to work on it, forget the time and just create. Work that unlocks both your talents and your passion will be really satisfying. So begin a list of your motivated abilities. What kinds of activities stir you? What makes time fly? What will you sacrifice for? These are clues to your unique abilities.

 

Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

 3. Connect the puzzle pieces you already have.

 

I believe finding your way professionally is like beginning a brand new puzzle. When you open the box and dump out the pieces, some of them are already flipped over and many of them are not. Some are edge pieces and most are not. As you go forward, start by understanding the pieces you already have. Where have you succeeded and where have you failed? What do you daydream about? What are your hobbies? What degrees and training have you received? Who have you looked to as mentors, teachers, and heroes? And why them? What unique open doors has God given you? What dreams keep surfacing in your heart? Too often we fixate on the puzzle pieces we don’t have when the place to start is to organize the ones we do have and see how they connect. Then, you can go looking for more pieces.

 

Romans 12:6 says, "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them."

 4. Understand what type of leader you are.

 

One of my mentors says there are three types of leaders: Originators, Organizers, and Operators. You can be successful as any of these, but it’s imperative you know which type you are. Originators are creatives, self-starters, entrepreneurs. They hate feeling boxed in by policies and ‘the way we’ve always done it.’ They have to explore and attempt new things. Risk is fun for them and routines are hard. Organizers are different. They don’t start things, they make them better. They’re masters at efficiency. They love improvement and finding the competitive edge. They dream of scaling things and building on the founder’s vision. Operators don’t have to build the well-oiled machine, but they love to drive it, manage it, and oversee it. They are disciplined and consistent. You don’t want a pilot who is an originator. He needs to operate. The same with a franchise owner. He needs to be able to grind. A business or organization will need all three types of leaders in different stages and seasons. Knowing what type of leader you are will help you identify the right role and right fit for you.

 

Proverbs 20:5 says, "The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out."

 5. Trust the God who provides.

 

As you look for your next step professionally, let me remind you that if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you’re not desperate. You’re not alone. You are the son or daughter of a perfect Father, the child of a great King. Your Father knows what you need before you even ask him. He loves to bless and provide for his kids. So your success is not solely up to you. God opens and closes doors. He gives favor and honor. Success is often the happy collision between God’s blessing and our faithfulness. So let go of the things you can’t control. The boss's decision. The interviewer's opinion of you. The timing. You serve a Savior who has all authority in heaven and on earth and He values you more than many sparrows. He is leading your life - even when you can’t see it - to work all things together for good, just as he promised. He is the God who provides and sooner or later you will see it.

 

2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."

 6. Have a bigger goal than retirement or riches.

 

Work is not not a prison to escape from as soon as humanly possible. Work was a gift God gave Adam and Eve to do in the Garden of Eden. God is a worker and our work can be an offering to God. It’s the chance to steward our time, talents and energy for God’s glory. Work can also be an opportunity to bless the world. We get the privilege of bringing our best to serve others and make our corner of the world - whether it’s a cubicle or a city - an outpost for the kingdom of God. Your work is a place where the invisible King can be made visible through you. Don’t settle for a paycheck. Don’t just exchange time for money. Work is more than that. It’s not bad to be rich but being rich is a bad goal.

 

1 Timothy 6:18 says, "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share."

 7. Seek a calling, not a career.

 

You have been put on this planet for a purpose. There’s a reason you’re here. Seek that reason. God has plans for your life, people for you to love and influence, stories for you to tell, gifts to give, and nations to serve. You have a God-given destiny to make disciples, somewhere, somehow. Companies will come and go. Jobs will change. But the story of God is eternal. Seek your place in that story above any career. Aim to understand your unique contribution to God’s kingdom and when you find it go all in.

 

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

 8. Risk and fail.

 

Failure is a synonym for learning. Sometimes it hurts, but too often it holds us back from experimenting. You might not know what you're good at because you haven't tried long enough to even know if you have potential. Failure is simply part of the process. When you try and fail, that’s okay. Closed doors help us find the open ones. When things don’t work out they bring us closer to when they will. So risk more, knowing God is with you. Attempt great things for God. Failure doesn’t get to define us because God already has.

 

Revelation 3:8 says, "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut."

 9. Your team really matters.

 

Jesus prayed all night before he chose his team of twelve apostles. Who you and I work with is very important. These are the people we’ll see every day. Their stories become the ones we tell. Their attitudes and outlooks often shape ours. Even their goals rub off on us. A team is built around a set of values. Before you join, know their values. Observe their values. Evaluate their values. Don’t assume you can change the team or shift their values. Culture rarely shifts unless some teammates leave. So pray, and decide not only if this is the right opportunity, but also if it’s the right team for you.

 

Luke 6:12-13 says, "He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles."

 10. Aim to become a master craftsman.

 

God is a skillful worker and work done well reflects him. Too often in our world today people change jobs before giving themselves the time to get good at their craft. I’d encourage you to decide what you want to be good at and then work at it with all your heart as unto the Lord. Aim to get better day after day and then after years of showing up you’ll find, almost surprisingly, that your work will stand out amidst a sea of mediocrity. I can almost hear someone say, “The way that man sets the tile, the way she designs websites, the way he invests my portfolio, those people must be the ones who truly know the God who hung the stars in the sky and planted the forests on earth.” Aim to become a master craftsman, excellent at what you do. God will be honored, and people will be inspired.

 

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

 Enjoy Your Work

 

You and I desire meaningful work that fits our talents, makes a difference, and provides for our families. We want to enjoy what we get to do every day. But since Genesis chapter 3, work has been a hard, sweaty business. It's cursed.

 

But the gospel is that Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Colossians 3:13) He paid our debt. He carried our burden. In Jesus, what was once heavy can now become light. What was once toil can now become joy.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:24 says, "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God."

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