God and Career Decisions

Does God care about our jobs, promotions, career choices and business development strategies? Perhaps not in the way you may think. 

employmentSusan was thriving in her work but the workload and long commute were putting pressure on her marriage and she carried the burden of guilt with her children spending so much time in daycare. She asked her Christian friends to pray for things to calm down at work and that the upcoming getaway with her husband would help revive their marriage.

Nick got the follow-up call from the recruiter with the offer to go to a competitive firm handling essentially the same territory but with a significantly higher compensation plan. He told his church men’s group that he really needed prayer to help with the career decision.

Eileen got the promotion she wanted and the increase in pay. She had asked her weekly Bible Study group to pray that all would work out for her and her job situation. She was so grateful for answered prayer.

John wanted to launch the start-up firm but struggled with which person to hire as his key technology co-founder. He wasn’t even sure the timing was right yet to leave his regular job. He sought advice from various marketplace leaders he knew, some of whom were Christians.

All of these are common situations faced by faithful Christians every day in the demanding modern workplace. Each situation sounds reasonable and correct in the individual’s handling of prayer and prayer requests, right?

Well, maybe not.

There’s something missing here and may be lost on many in the marketplace. God is seemingly in the mix, yet something is off.

In fact, the miss is insidious yet prevalent in the modern Christian community.

The “Help Me” Prayer
Is it wrong to pray for good things to happen in our work and careers? After all, we have to support our families, and if we make money then we can give more to the church and to favorite charities. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

But really that’s not the point.

Actually, what I believe is happening is the defacto use of the “Help Me” Prayer – that is, the “Lord, help me to achieve this, get through that, or win this, or avoid that, etc.” Prayer. It can be an honest and heartfelt prayer, but ultimately it’s a self-serving prayer.

And we’ve all done it.

We can even get help through our Christian friends, small groups, and home Bible study groups to support us as we share our “Help Me Prayer” requests and petition God to help us get that promotion, land that job, manage the workload, get that deal, make that hire, secure that funding, whatever the workplace need.

All according to our will. Because, after all, “God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives,” and doesn’t He want us to pursue what makes us thrive and be happy? Doesn’t He care about our jobs, promotions, career choices and strategies?

Yes, He does. But perhaps not in the way you may think.

Theology Shift
I do believe God has great plans to prosper us, provide for us, and have us thrive, even in a broken world requiring His intervention and restorative rescue through the sacrificial death of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. But there are no guarantees to that success or achievement in this terrestrial place. Though there is, however, an assurance of great things in eternity for those that love and obey God.

In the meantime, is it therefore “hit or miss” in our human lives and maneuverings? How discouraging!

No, it’s actually a blessed life of all the love, joy, peace and happiness a human can absorb in their heart, mind, soul, and spirit, even if not in physical rewards.

But before you chalk it up to a mere religious platitude, let’s confront the reality of the everyday workplace plight of the Christian high-achievers listed above (Susan, Nick, Eileen, and John).

3 Steps to Really Bringing God into Our Career Decisions
If we’re serious followers of Christ and not 50%’ers or even 80%’ers (i.e., not “all in” – see BV post Living at 80%), then consider these 3 steps to assure that God is directing the details of your life – all the details, even career moves:

  1. Submit (Yourself as a Living Sacrifice) – before we ask our Christian friends to “pray for me” we need to submit and present ourselves as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable to God, for this is our spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1) We need to be cleared of any of our own biases directing or holding us down. It’s like saying “God, I’m done. Let this next job move be all about what YOU want in my life; not my will, but Yours. I give it up to you.”
  2. Wait (for the Lord) – we need to listen, and stop even, before we leap and plunge forward with what looks or feels like the real deal. The world is an allure and not all that shines is gold. I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalms 40:1) Many lives have gone down lesser paths because one has jumped too soon at the bait of the “next thing/step/reward” because it looked so good to us. Perhaps so, but the marketplace is fraught with choices and enticing options. Sometimes the right path comes with patience.
  3. Re-Submit (Your Options as a Sacrifice) – after waiting and assessing your options, re-submit them and yourself to God in humble sacrifice. “God, I’m faced with these choices, one of which I want badly. I ultimately only want what YOU would have for me. Take my options and my selfish desires and lead me to the right path. Open and shut the doors accordingly here. Your will, not mine.”

God may give you exactly what you want in your career or employment path, or he may turn it upside down or shut it down. Our attitude, if we’re truly a Christ-follower Christian, is to accept gratefully what we’re handed after our Godly submission.

If still confused or frustrated, keep seeking His will by following the 3 steps listed above.

When you think about it: would you really want to be doing anything outside of what He has planned for you?

Is God fully involved in your career decisions?
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwho does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. – Psalms 40:4-5

Categories: Abundant Living, Calling, Devotion, Faith, Marketplace, Prayer, Purpose

Tags: , , , , ,

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