For the sake of argument, let me assume that you have a career path. It may have been challenged of late, and you may be functioning outside your sweet spot. But there is something for which you see yourself best suited. You hope that career will make it possible for you to pay your bills, take care of your family responsibilities, and provide a certain standard of living. You probably also expect it to provide certain less-tangible rewards as titles and social standing.
But do you also have a calling? Consistent with the way most people hear that term, a calling involves a clear sense of being commissioned by God for some holy task. It is an awareness of the sovereignty of God over who you are and what you are doing with your life. It is the sense that God's hand is on you and that he has a sense of genuine pleasure in what you are doing.
The real secret to fulfillment is for career and calling to merge into one. Don't you sense Billy Graham has viewed his as one and the same? What about you?
I believe God is offering you an opportunity to make a difference in the world. I am convinced he wants you to change the world. And I further believe that he wants you to see your job, business, or profession as an extension of his kingdom reign on Planet Earth. Here's what I mean.
The sense that one's career is also a holy calling really shouldn't startle us. If slaves-become-Christians were counseled to "render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord" (Ephesians 6:7-8 NRSV), then surely you are supposed to be the best employee or employer the Acme Widget Company has ever seen. If not, why not?
Above paycheck or promotion, do something that contributes to the good of your world. Let your routine reflect the character and excellence heaven is building into your life. Know that your work is inseparable from your spiritual life - and reflects its authenticity. When your faith cleanses and consecrates your workplace to God, you have found a calling larger than your career.
Solomon put it this way: "There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their work. This, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?" (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).
Ready to change the world today? God is ready to be your partner.
Rubel Shelly has preached for the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ in Nashville since 1978. During that time, he has also taught at David Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the author of more than 20 books, including several which have been translated into languages such as Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Russian. He is married to the former Myra Shappley, and they are the parents of three children: Mrs. David (Michelle) Arms, Tim, and Tom. To contact Rubel or to subscribe to his newsletter, Fax of Life, send email to faxOfLife@woodmont.org