Believers should glorify God in their professions.
HYMN: WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD
TEXT: Gen. 4:1-7, Matt. 4:17-19, Acts 5:24-39
Life is full of activities and these give a living human being opportunity to express his/her desires in life and make his/her contribution to promote peaceful co-existence between man and man.
Whatever activity one engages one’s self depends absolutely on one’s choice. The impact of different activities on other human beings should be considered when choices are made. As Christians, we should understand that our activities do not impact on our fellow human beings only, but God shares the impact of our activities. “… For thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
Psalm 149 verse 4 says, “For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people”. God is interested in what we do and how we conduct our lives. He has a destiny for each and every one of us and we must not play down on God’s desire concerning us as His children. This we should seek out in the pursuit of any career we may choose.
This study is aimed at considering seriously, how our chosen career affects our relationship with God, and our fellow human being.
The objectives of this study are:
1.To give the definition of a career
2.To know how to choose a career
3.To identify the careers a Christian should pursue
4.To know the dangers in choosing a wrong career.
5.To understand the relationship between our career and our Christian witness.
Q1 WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM CAREER? Eccl. 9:10, Rom. 12:11
The English Oxford Dictionary defines career as a profession or occupation that one undertakes for a substantial period of one’s life. In addition, we can say that a career is an activity that one engages one’s self by choice for a greater period of one’s life; for example, Teaching, Medical and Legal Practice, Carpentry, Tailoring etc.
A career is not a duty or profession forced on one by another. People who, as a result of pressure from other persons or circumstances of life, engage in a profession or occupation cannot be said to be pursuing a career. Activities engaged in to fill up some gaps is not a career. A life ambition can be realized through the pursuit of a career. A career, when fully realized produces pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment in life.
David one of the greatest Kings in Israel had a career in his early life i.e. keeping and tending sheep. He was so involved in this business that he almost missed the opportunity of becoming a King in Israel, but for God’s intervention.
His experience as a shepherd influenced his lifestyle in his reign as a King when he, in Psalm 23 declared “The Lord is my shepherd…”. A career can affect one’s lifestyle positively or negatively, so it matters a lot the type of career a Christian should pursue.
Q2. HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN CHOOSE A CARRER? 1 Kings 3:7-9, 1 Sam, 30:8, 2 Sam. 2:1
In John 15:5, Jesus said “…without me ye can do nothing”. Before a Christian decides to choose a career, he/she should enquire from the Lord. In other words, the place of prayer should not be undermined in the choice of a career. King Solomon in 1 Kings 3:7-9 acknowledged his inability to handle the affairs of the Kingdom of Israel as a young man without experience, and to rule such a great and troublesome nation of Israel, he needed the wisdom of God, so he asked God for wisdom. In 1 Sam. 30:8, David needed to enquire from the Lord before he embarked on the pursuit of this enemies to recover what was carried away by them. The assurance of success was necessary to encourage him to pursue the enemies. On the issue of career, there are a lot of uncertainties and it is not less important to let God handle the unknown for us. We must therefore be sure of God’s leading in choosing a career as Christians. God knows the end from the beginning and He is able to guide us in choosing a good and fulfilling career.
It is also important and advisable to seek counsel from experienced Christian brethren who are known to have succeeded in their chosen careers as Christians. The Scripture says “In the multitude of counsel, there is safety”. A career should not be chosen based on the success of another person in such a career. No two individuals are the same. God deals with us as individuals and so it is important that we recognize how God deals with us and make our choice of career in relation to that understanding. Consideration should also be given to an individual’s interest and aptitude together with our Christian values in the choice of a career.
Q3. IS THERE ANY CAREER A CHRISTIAN CANNOT PURSUE? 1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:17
Apostle Paul said “….All things are lawful to me but all things are not expedient”. Choosing a career is a personal issue, but as Christians, we should remember that we are bought with a price, so we no longer live for ourselves. The Scripture advises us to therefore live for Him who died for us. In choosing a career, a Christian should ensure that he/she can boldly testify of the career he/she chooses in the presence of other Christian brothers and sisters.
A Christian should not engage in:
Any business that will not honor God or strengthen a believer’s faith, such as:
1.) Distribution/sale or brewing of alcoholic drinks
2.) Tobacco farming
3.) Internet fraud
4.) Money laundering, Gambling business.
5.) Human or drug trafficking etc.
Any business declared illegal by the laws of the land e.g. bunkering.
The Christian is the light of the world, so in all department of his life, including his career, he should show the light for the world to see. A Christian should therefore choose a career he is sure, pleases God.
Q4. ARE THERE ANY DANGERS IN CHOOSING THE WRONG CAREER?
What is wrong is wrong and cannot produce anything profitable. There are dangers in a Christian choosing a wrong career; consider the following:
1.) It may cause him to neglect God and pursue worldly pleasures and eventually lose his salvation, die and go to hell ( Mark 8:36),
2.) He may not find pleasure and satisfaction in the profession, and so live in continuous pain and complaint all through his life.
3.) He will make other Christians stumble and fall from faith. (1 Cor. 8:11 &13, Rom. 14:21.)
Why would you allow a career that lasts for a short while rob you of eternity in the presence of God. We have no continuing city here. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable ( 1 Cor. 15:19).
Q5. CAN A CHRISTIAN’S CAREER BE AN INTERGRAL PART OF HIS/HER SERVICE TO GOD?
In 1 Cor. 10:31, Apostle Paul wrote “… Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”. It is therefore imperative that a Christian should pursue his career to the glory of God. King Hezekiah was able to declare that he worked before God with a perfect heart and did what was good in God’s sight. (Isa. 38:2-3). Hezekiah was neither a prophet nor a priest, he was a King and he was only involved in the business of administering the affairs of his kingdom, and he saw this as walking before God; and God agreed with him hence He (God) answered his prayers.
The Christian is encouraged to do all his business as unto the Lord. As he now pursues his career as unto the Lord, his career becomes an integral part of his service to the Lord. A Christian strives to please the Lord in all his ways. The Christian’s career is ultimately part of his service to God as he strives to please God in the pursuit of that career.
From the life of David, we discover that our career can influence our life style. If our life reflects Christ as Christians, and our career influences our lifestyle, we cannot but choose a career in which the life of Christ can be reflected.
Q6. EXAMINE THE WAYS IN WHICH A CHRISTIAN’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS HIS CAREER CAN IMPAIR HIS CHRISTIAN WITNESS.
Jesus said “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matt. 10:37). Anything we cherish so much that it takes the choicest place in our life is capable of taking the place of God. If a Christian’s attitude towards his/her career is such that his/her career becomes an excuse for his/her activity in the things of God, obviously that career becomes a hinderance to his/her devotion to God; as a result, his/her Christian witness will be impaired.
“As long as I have a job”, is an attitude that is capable of making a Christian pursue a career that may not allow him to declare boldly, his faith in Christ. As Christians we should therefore ensure that we choose a career that is in consonance with our faith. A wrong career is capable of having a counterproductive effect on a Christian’s faith. When a Christian’s attitude towards his career makes him feel that his life depends on it, the career has eventually become his master. The Bible says “…. No one can serve two masters at the same time…”. This situation will definitely pose danger to the Christian involved, and if care is not taken, such an one may lose out completely. If our present career appears to have negative effect on our Christian faith, we should seriously consider a change, and for those who are about to choose a career, it is advisable to wait on God patiently to avoid a possible regret at the end.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Planning for tomorrow is time well spent. Worrying for tomorrow is time wasted. Planning is thinking ahead about goals, steps, and schedules and trusting God for guidance. We should learn to put God first in our life, filling our thoughts with His desires, take His character for our partner, serve and obey Him in everything.
Many things compete for priority in our life; people, objects, goals, good jobs and other desires. Any of these can become most important to us if we do not actively choose to give God first place in every area of our life. Jesus tells us to persist in asking God for whatever we need. The problem with us is that we give up too soon, especially when there seems to be a little delay. We should not give up; we must continue to ask Him for guidance, patience, wisdom and understanding concerning our business or occupation. Let us continue to exercise faith in God’s faithfulness and His ability to guide us in choosing right.
“ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
Monday: Give God the first place.
Tuesday: Trust God for guidance.
Wednesday: Serving God in your career.
Thursday: Glorify God in your occupation.
Dan. 3:16-18, 28-29
Friday: Occupy for God.
Saturday: Whatever thy hand findeth to do.