Have you ever asked yourself the question: Am I in the right job? Your work may be your calling, but your calling may change over time, right? Let’s share six perspectives to help answer that question.
This article is part of a faith + work RELEVANT is producing in partnership with Unite Health Share Ministries.
First, remind yourself how you got here.
A good place to start when considering any job change or job offer is to remind yourself how you got where you are in the first place. Maybe you always saw your current job as a temporary position that you would move on from; maybe you were excited to start your current job because it met certain needs and gave certain opportunities; or perhaps you just felt that this was the door God was opening for you at that time.
Every decision—from the day you accepted the job since—has a purpose that may have been fulfilled or may still be in the works. Before “jumping ship” to move on, it’s important to reflect on what those purposes were—not just from your own perspective but also from God’s – and whether those purposes have been fulfilled.
Patience is a fruit of the spirit. Don’t run off after something new before the time is right. Be careful about this. The career graveyard—and the list of God’s unfulfilled plans—is filled with premature departures.
Second, check your motivation.
Once you’ve looked back, the next place to look is inside. Why do you want a job change? Is it for money? Challenge? Career-building? Something else?
The Bible has something to say here. Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
What?!? Make decisions based on how I might help others, not on how I will benefit? Yes, the Bible is pretty clear on this – don’t follow selfish ambition; instead, think about how to serve others! The place to start is your life’s purpose – glorifying God (not self) and building His Kingdom (not yours).
The Bible speaks on this as well. Romans 12:2 says to “transform” your mind so that you are not conformed “to the pattern of this world”—the pattern of finances, title, position and job scope. Once you “transform your mind,” then you will be able to discern what God really wants.
Third, does it fit who you are?
God created you for a certain purpose, a certain way to bring glory to Him that only you can do. Your challenge is to find and execute that purpose in your life – and at your work. A way to think about this is to ask yourself: “If money were no object, what work would I choose and why?” Write down the things you would like to do and how you would use the talents and gifts God has given you to bring glory to Him. What is your passion?
With this perspective, consider what you could change in your current job to make it a better fit. If you’re looking ahead to a new job, how well does that job fit with who you were created to be and what you were created to do?
Fourth, does it fit what God wants?
As you contemplate your current job or the new position ahead, consider whether it is in line with God’s will for mankind. Can the work you do glorify God by bringing others closer to Him, or does it drive people away from Him?
God wants you to work where you can bring others closer to Him and help build His Kingdom. Does your job and the industry where you work line up with God’s will and bring glory to Him? If not, then maybe it’s time to consider alternatives. As a Christian, you should never compromise any of your beliefs to secure a “good job.” Even if the future looks bleak, the Bible promises God will look out for you. You should not be anxious in anything – not even unemployment!
Fifth, check the “religious” filter.
In today’s culture, “ministry” work is often seen as being more in God’s favor than a “secular” job. But this is a man-made distinction and not at all biblical. Whether you recognize it, you are to be a “workplace minister” wherever your place of employment. Your pastor is almost certainly not coming to your work to minister to your coworkers in need, so that leaves you as the hands and feet of God at your workplace.
Not sure about that? Then consider how the Bible says that God has already prepared “good works” in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10), so why shouldn’t some – or most – of these good works take place at your job? God may want you to stay and serve Him right where you are today. But if you still feel “called” to do otherwise, just be sure it really is God calling you and not some idea that “religious” work is better.
Sixth, what do others say?
As a last way to see if you’re in the right job or if that new job opportunity is right for you, check with other Christians. God often uses other people to speak wisdom to us we might not otherwise hear. He may use the pastor at your church or another speaker that you’ve heard online or in person. Most often, however, God will use the people that know you best to speak to you.
Therefore, when the time comes to re-evaluate your current job or consider a new opportunity, be sure to involve those Christians that God has placed in your life. None of us is meant to be an island or to make decisions all by ourselves. Check Proverbs 12:15 and 15:25 to see how wise King Solomon advises the same.
Like an annual performance review at work, why not take time to also check that you are still on God’s path for your life? Start by setting aside some time to review and discuss with others your work as God’s creation. Then talk to God about it, seeking His guidance and His will for your working life.
When you pray, God will answer. Just be sure to listen.
Roland Heersink is regular working guy who has worked his way through various departments and geographies of companies large & small. He is now an entrepreneur with a passion to help fellow Christians see & understand what God's intentions might be for their life, especially in the workplace. Dr. Szaszi Bene is Theologian and Director of Spiritual Development at Tyndale Seminary in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His vision is to be a theologian for theologians, pastors and church leaders. His aim is to integrate theology with life in the workplace to help working Christians live their faith all week long. Together Roland & Szaszi lead the God & Work ministry and have co-authored the book “How to be a Christian at Work” as a practical guide to help Christians in all walks of life. The book is available on Amazon.com and www.GodandWork.org.