All work is sacred to God. The work of a missionary is no more sacred than that of a man or woman with a secular job, such as working on an assembly line. In both cases, if that person is using his spiritual gifts by doing the work that God designed him to do, then he will find satisfaction in his job. Meanwhile, he will not dread going to work because he is doing what he enjoys, what he’s good at, and what glorifies God.
Many people don’t enjoy their work. This should be a clue that they’re not in the job that God designed them for, and they should make a change. However, we often have problems figuring out what God has called us to do. This is especially true for young people just entering the work force. There are three things that can help in this process:
1) Each of us needs to decide what we’re good at, and what we love. Too often we simply choose a job or a career based upon how much money we can make to buy all of the toys that we want. God has given each of us specific gifts and abilities, and if we can recognize them and put them to proper use, then we will indeed glorify God, and in the meantime we will find gratification in our work.
2) Younger people need to be able to depend upon older people for guidance. When I went to college, I had no real career guidance. I decided to be a software engineer, and I believe that it’s only by the providence of God that I chose the correct career path for myself. However, I sometimes wonder if I should have pursued an advanced degree, and spent my life in research and development. At the same time, I wonder if I should have spent less time on my formal education, and chosen, say, diesel mechanics as a profession. Nobody was there to talk me through these various possibilities.
3) Once we’ve found the right position for ourselves, we need to learn not to deviate from it. When we enter a particular career, we will notice people in other jobs. Some make more money than we do, and others might seem to enjoy their work more than we do. We shouldn’t deviate from the right career path by trying to make more money, or by trying to do a job that is better suited for others. If God made you to be an assembly line worker, and you’re offered a position in management, turn it down. Don’t compromise by trying to make more money in a job where you will be lacking the required abilities (and gratification).
We need to decide what we love and what we can do well, and then do that thing well. If you’re a young person, make sure that you have explored all of your opportunities. If you’re an older person, make yourself available to younger people, so that they can learn from your experiences, and your mistakes.