God's Hand, Observed
By Alissa Clark
March 21, 2006
Editor's Note: You might remember this article from several months ago, asking for people to share how they see God's hand in their occupations and daily pursuits. These are a few of the responses I received. Keep 'em coming.
I am a Loan Officer. I sell mortgages for a living, whether they are refinances or purchases. On the way to work today I was listening to Donald Trump on CD. He starts by saying, "I don't do it for the money, I do it to do it. I do it for the kicks—I love doing deals." After listening to "the Donald", I began to ask myself, why do I do what I do for a living?
I began to pray before I pulled into work and realized that I am working for the Lord. I asked God to keep me honest in my business life and to help me work diligently so as to be a good witness to others.
I think that there is some truth to the idea that God has given all of us a gift. He gives artists like Michelangelo the gift of creating beautiful art. He gives writers like T.S. Eliot the gift of writing beautifully. Maybe the Lord has given us the gift, no matter what our profession is, of the potential to make a masterpiece at what ever we do. I think that God gave me the gift to sell loans, and when I sell loans, I have the potential of creating a masterpiece with my work. If that is the case, then God has given all of us the ability to make this world a more beautiful place and allow us the opportunity to lead others to Christ.
I am an undergraduate student at Michigan State University. I often find myself asking if it is “okay” to become an engineer. I remember taking a physics exam where I was doing pretty well, but I ran into this problem in which I just couldn’t remember the formula. I said a prayer asking Jesus to give me the knowledge to solve this problem. Literally five seconds later, I had the formula and procedure to solve the problem, after about 10 minutes of staring at the page.
In college, I dreamed of being a big executive at an advertising firm. The real world clashed against that dream, and I paid a few dues to get myself into the advertising world. Now, here I sit, two and a half years out of college, doing well at my ad agency as an Account Executive. The company is amazing, flexible, fun and stable. I work with all the same people as my wife—you can't really beat that!
Over the past few months, however, a restlessness has been stirring. I struggled hard with it, spending lots of time praying and talking to friends, particularly one that left a great job to go to seminary. What to do? What was my dream? This advertising stuff just couldn't be what God intended for me, there had to be more. My friend encouraged me to take a step of faith and see what happened. I threw a resume at a job opportunity I knew about with a non-profit. Surely I could impact God's kingdom working for a non-profit!
My dad, who's worked for a major corporation for 25 years, encouraged me by saying, "Maybe your work doesn't need to be what defines you. Perhaps it's what you do outside of work that's God's call for you." I began to think of the things I do outside of work, like volunteer with youth and play sports with non-Christians. I thought of how we use the good salaries we have to support missionaries and charities. I still don't know if God wants me to leave advertising and become something else. I'm 24! God didn't even send Jesus into His ministry until he was almost 30! I know God needs me here. Who knows the kind of profound impact God has for me here. Maybe He's just biding my time until He uses me to change the world. Maybe He's got lots of wisdom for me, if I'd only ask for it.
I think pretty much all of us have days when we wonder what God is up to and why He has led us to where we are. I definitely have days when I wonder if I missed something along the way, if I should be doing something more, or if somehow I ended up in the wrong place. But I remember friendships I wouldn't have been able to develop over the past few years and the opportunities to serve in my church that I wouldn't have had if God hadn't led me to where I am now. So sometimes when I struggle to see exactly why I have been placed in the place that I have, I know I need to look past my frustration on that specific day and try to see the bigger picture and the good that has come out of it.
It often reminds me of the show Joan of Arcadia. Joan would find herself taking steps in a certain direction because God was leading her. Sometimes at the end of the episode she would find out why He led her a certain way and other times the episode ended with her still confused about it. The things He would ask her to do seemed like simple, everyday things, but they would eventually have a profound effect on the people around her even if she never found out about it. God leads all of us to do things that may seem simple, mundane, pointless or confusing, but at the end of the day those simple things can touch other people's lives. When I start thinking about things in that way, it helps me to remember that God works with us where we are at, whether we have an exciting career where we have "made our mark" or whether we feel like we have taken a wrong turn.
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