As I start to tell you about my work-life experience, there is a principle that you would be wise to consider. As Christians, we should talk to the Lord about everything, so as you think about what career you should pursue, make it a matter of prayer.
I always wanted to be a chef; however, God had other plans for me. I did not come from a Christian family and, to my knowledge, I was the only one in my family who trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am not academic, so when I left school my grades were not brilliant. I discovered that I was more comfortable with practical activities. One day, an opportunity came up to work on a building site. I was told that I could have an apprenticeship in bricklaying, but later they decided to give this to another lad who was a friend of mine! I was so disappointed, but I can see now that the Lord wanted me to be in cabinet making and joinery, not in bricklaying.
I was willing to work hard and do whatever I was told, and I learned very quickly that the world of work is very different from school life. It was difficult getting used to hearing bad language, jokes, and stories that I did not want to hear. I told my workmates that I was a Christian, but they kept pushing me to drink with them. I got the strength to say no, which helped me learn the reality of Philippians chapter 4 verse 13, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’.
After some time, I applied for a job with a cabinet making company and was promised a job once I had completed a two-year cabinet making course. After enrolling for a course with Falmouth College, I had to find accommodation. The Lord had His hand in this, as some believers had contacted other believers in the area, and they had agreed to look after me and provide accommodation. I was, and am, very thankful for these believers who made me a part of their family and showed me what a Christian home should be like.
During my first year of college, I found out that the company that had promised me a job had gone into liquidation, which was very disappointing; however, I continued with the course.
Whilst at College, I realized that I had to make a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ and what I believe in, and not sit on the fence or be led astray by others who were strong characters. Just a side note: one lad asked me to take him to the gospel meeting. I did this for a long time. All of this was very encouraging to me. You can witness for the Lord by your life, as well as by preaching!
Once qualified, the Lord provided me with employment, working in antique restoration, then on building sites and with joinery firms. Twice the firms I worked for went into liquidation, but the Lord was good to me, and I always managed to get another job quickly. I soon realized that not everyone is helpful or honest. Some people have their own agenda, and lie, steal, and blame others to get what they want. They are not worried about the consequences. As a believer, I was different to others and was often picked on and ridiculed for my faith, but the Lord has always been with me, and I have been able to rely on Him for everything I need. He has never failed me.
The Lord has provided me with opportunities in recent years to work in an office rather than “on the bench’. My role now includes drawing using CAD technology and managing projects. I enjoy my work, however, there is a lot of pressure, and the challenge of being different (as a believer) is just as real. My boss knows that I will not lie, but often still suggests that I should say something different to the truth just to keep clients happy. My boss doesn’t always appreciate it when I refuse, but he knows he can trust me, as the clients do.
In most lines of work, some people will work weekends and late evenings as they do not have anything else, apart from work, in their lives, and are often only focused on earning more money. As believers, we have something more important in our lives than work, and, although we should work hard and do our best, at the end of the day, it is just a job!
Early in my working life, I did work some weekends and evenings, but my spiritual life suffered, and there was no lasting benefit to me. You will find that the more you do in this trade, the more is expected from you; but if you look to the Lord and aim to please Him, the rewards are eternal.
‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’, Phil. 4. 19.