Whether in China or anywhere else around the world the choice of which career path to take is one that elicits no small amount of hand-wringing and late-night anxieties. For the Christian, there are additional concerns of avoiding corruption and trying to be in God’s will. How then should a Christian approach this question?
Recently, a blogger at The Good and Faithful Steward blog site shared some insights into the struggle.
How should we as Christians choose our careers?
For most people the question of how to choose the best career is a crucial one, as our comfort and well being will largely depend on this choice.
Generally, it should be made with careful attention to guidance from parents or guardians; however the child’s own inclinations should not be totally ignored in the decision making process. And so, there are two principles to be considered in the process of choosing a career: First, that the chosen career must not violate biblical standards, and second, the chosen career must be appropriate for the individual.
Not Violating Biblical Standards
Crime is repulsive, and those engaged in illegal business are walking in disobedience to God as well as aiding and abetting the sinfulness of others. As Christians we should loathe to take part in such work, realizing that ultimately such persons will often walk under God’s curse because of their activities.
Undoubtedly, pointing out the illegitimacy of an occupation will make some people very unhappy However, we must admit that certain occupations are unquestionably evil, because they decrease our level of reverence for God as well as our responsibilities as Christians, harm the interests of society, or provide an opportunity for others to engage in crime.
And so, one way that we can judge whether or not a given profession is biblical is to ask ourselves whether or not we can honestly seek God's blessing and acceptance in our carrying out this work.
Appropriate to the Person
God may do whatever he wills, but we as humans must use common sense in our choices and recognize the reality of an individual’s abilities. If God grants certain individuals remarkable abilities we must conclude that, under normal circumstances, this is God’s silent suggestion that this individual be given duties consistent with his or her competence.
Likewise, one’s physical capabilities should be compatible with one’s chosen field of work. The physically strong and able individual who is lacking in intellectual prowess is most suited to manual labor, just as the physically weak one should be directed toward comparatively light work.
Sadly, in this regard careless neglect has led to the destruction of some individuals, and at times ultimately brought harm to the general society. Therefore we must weigh both the physical and mental capabilities of the individual when considering occupational direction.
In addition we must take into account each person’s cultural background as well as environmental factors.
So how is one to wisely choose a career?
Following are some steps to consider:
Give yourself enough time to consider this matter.
We must consider—
- Is the direction I am considering a biblical one?
- Does it suit me?
- Do I have the necessary funds to start down this path?
- Do I have the ability to make this a reality and to complete the necessary studies for achieving my plans?
- Do I have the physical endurance and patience to take up this burden, as well as the financial resources to allow for normal operations of the venture?
If we do not consider these things, we will be just like the ignorant person who laid a foundation but was unable to finish the above ground construction. Not having the ability to complete the venture, you will be faced with agonizing difficulties and will provoke shame for your choices.
Therefore, the choice of an occupation truly requires sufficient time to consider.
Consult reliable and wise individuals, especially those who have experience in your career of interest.
Such a person is the best judge of his own career, understanding both the benefits and drawbacks as well as recognizing the necessary qualifications for one to be up to the task. As such, we should seriously consider this person’s advice.
Those of us in the younger generation must listen carefully and respectfully to the advice of the experienced, using their knowledge to draw out a blueprint for our own direction of action.
If we have carefully followed the advice of those more experienced than us only to meet with failure, there is at least some consolation in knowing that this failure was not simply a matter of unwise hastiness.
Many people are willing to come alongside a poor but cautious and hardworking person, however they will shy away from the one who is fanciful or headstrong. And so, in choosing a career, we must seek counsel with those who are wiser and more knowledgeable than we are.
Choose a career that will not harm your soul.
There are some occupations that, in and of themselves, are not contrary to God’s Word, while still allowing for great material gain. These may in fact not be a good choice, because the opportunity for temptation is so great that it is almost impossible to be unaffected by the surrounding evil and immorality.
We must not allow the hope for immediate benefits to sway us into putting our very souls at risk, for “what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mark 8:36) Instead, let us seek to find an environment in which people devoutly worship God and faithfully respect the Sabbath.
Seek God’s leading and aid, trusting in his providence.
God has set the very boundaries for where we will live (Acts 17:26) in order that we would know our need to rely on him, and to seek him. We must acknowledge him in all that we do, which is the primary way in which we, as rational creatures, show respect to our creator.
Only God knows the difficulties, temptations, or advantages and disadvantages we may encounter in our chosen place of occupation, and so only he knows which career is best for us.
Finally, it is important to consider personal wishes.
If an individual has a particularly strong drawing towards a certain profession, and if this desire is reasonable, this may be evidence of God’s providence, and possibly at the very least a step in the right direction.
When people work in occupations to which they are naturally inclined they are more likely to work hard. And, of course, such a placement often brings with it the patience to endure the various annoyances a given job may bring.
Original article: 基督徒当如何选择职业？ (The Good and Faithful Steward)
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