As followers of Jesus, it’s important to have a career that God wants for us. We want to feel "called" to it or make sure it is where God is leading us. Those are good desires! However, many of us look for confirmation of those desires in the wrong place. We want a sign, a word, or clear direction from God to say "yes" or "no" to a job. And I understand why we want that. In the Bible, there are about a hundred specific examples of God calling people to do a thing. So, why not expect God to do the same for us? Right?!?
Let's look at it in context.
The Bible spans through about 4,000 years of history (arguably), and there are a total of 3,237 people mentioned in the Bible over that period. That means only three percent of people mentioned in the Bible received a specific word from God on taking a specific action to do a thing. What's more, is that there were an estimated 10,000,000,000 people who lived on the earth during that estimated 4000-year history. So, technically less than 0.000001% of all people on the planet have a recorded specific calling from God to do a specific job.
(All numbers from Gordan A. Hunt of Stanford University from BibleResources.org)
BOTTOM LINE: God rarely gives people specific direction to do a thing like a job.
Can He audibly speak to you or give specific directions about a job? Sure!
Is it wise for us to expect it? No.
So, how do we determine when it is wise for us to take a new job? We use the mind God has given us to examine the opportunity against how He has made us and the commands of His word.
Does the new job have these four things?
Money - Are we able to provide for our family and ourselves through the income provided in this job? Are we able to give, save, and live better at the new job versus the current job? Income is important, and earning an income can be praiseworthy! But it is not the most important thing to consider.
Affirmation - Does the new job provide the opportunity to grow? Will I become a master of a craft? Will I get better as a professional and as a person at this new job compared to the current one? Will the people at this new job encourage me and lift me up? You were created to contribute! So, a job that allows you to contribute now and grow your contributions in the future is a big deal.
Freedom - Does the new job allow me the autonomy to work at my best, or is there excessive micromanagement? Are there opportunities for freedom in the schedule to better harmonize my work life and home life? God has put us in a free world with free will, and we thrive in autonomous environments with the proper affirmation. Does the new job give that to you?
Purpose - Does this new job allow you to impact people positively? Are you able to make the world a better place with your work? Does this new company have a selfless mission that revolves around serving other people? Again, you were created to contribute. We are at our best when we are doing work that matters. Evaluating the impact your work has on the world is a key component!
Does the new job allow you to better love God and love people?
This is why we exist. We were made to love God and love His people. Not because He needs us, but because He wants the most for us. We, and others, have a more enjoyable life when we do what we were made to do.
Ask this question: "Which job allows me to love God and love people better?"
This may be the most important thing to consider as you evaluate changing jobs. If the new job allows you to love Him and others better than your current job, there is a good chance the new job is right for you.
The truth is that it’s unlikely we will receive a direct call to a specific job. So, while we should pray for guidance, waiting around for a specific word from God is not a good idea. God has made us for community (affirmation), to thrive with autonomy (freedom), and to do work that matters (purpose). A job that has those three things and allows us to love God and people better is worth considering!
As you consider new employment, remember this:
God cares more about what we do with our vocation than what vocation we choose.
Whether it's a new job or one you've been at for years, you can make the most of what you are doing. You can make your work a ministry no matter where you are!
Husband, Dad, and Sun Valley Community Church student ministry volunteer. A Finance Expert and Founder of Stewardship. Christian Ministries major from Arizona Christian University and bestselling author.