There is no doubt that we are here on this earth to work. Even before the fall, man was given useful things to do, Gen. 2. 15. A consequence of Adam’s sin was the introduction of hard work in order to earn a living, Gen. 3. 19. So, daily toil is basic to a fallen human race under the judgement of God. Christians are not exempt from this, 2 Thess. 3. 10-12. However, a great dignity is added to work for the Christian, as it is done unto the Lord, Col. 3. 23, 24. In addition to earning money, this gives a great incentive for the believer to secure useful employment.
But what should we work at? How do we know what the Lord wants us to do? There are some people who seem to know from their earliest years what they should be, but for many others it can be quite a struggle to know. Scripture gives clear instructions about how we should do our work, but seems to give no directions about the specific work we should do. Maybe that’s because such directions are not really necessary. Consider the following:
God is our creator. What we are physically and mentally, sin apart, is the result of how He has made us. So, it follows that He wants us to work at what He has made us able to work at. Therefore, we have to discover our divinely given abilities, which will also be developed through our experiences as we grow up. Through our school years we get to know if we’re good at numbers or words, talking or writing, practical work or academic work, and so on. So we should start thinking of types of work that utilize what we are best at. This itself implies researching information about careers, and what they involve.
Then again, we have our likes and dislikes. You might say, it’s not what I like that matters but what God would like me to do! However, it is God who has created us as individuals with our differing likes and dislikes. Our individual interests are down to how God has made us, and the experiences He has brought us through. There are a whole lot of different forms of work that need doing, and God has made people different to match the variety of needs that there are.
There will be some jobs, which, though legal, we shouldn’t do, because of our biblically based beliefs. God has left us in the world, and we won’t be able (especially in business) to avoid all contact with what we’d rather not have anything to do with. For example, you may work as a delivery driver for a water cooler company, one of whose customers is a casino. Your responsibility to deliver water bottles to the casino is quite different to being an employee of it, engaged in the sinful activity of gambling. To avoid all contact with sinful things would mean us going out of the world completely, which is not God’s purpose for us until the rapture!
As we consider the type of work we might do, we must also consider the effect different types of work could have on our spiritual development, and opportunities for service in the assembly. Unbelievers talk about their work/life balance, and Christians should consider it even more so.
Where we have the choice, we should ensure that the convictions we have about the role we should be fulfilling in assembly service are not nullified by the time and energy needed for the job we choose! The Lord taught that we can’t serve two masters, so a career has never to take over from our primary duty to Christ and His interests.
Firstly, as we do have to work at something, we are responsible, through education and training, to make ourselves fit and ready for such work. Secondly, God knows the end from the beginning of our lives but wants us to be utterly dependent on Him each step of the way. We make decisions responsibly in the fear of God, but we must also constantly cast ourselves upon Him for His wisdom and guidance.
Summary: Look for the type of work you are fitted to do, and have a liking for, and which is morally and spiritually appropriate. Then, wait on the Lord to open the right doors!