My work, my job, my calling. Just what should I be doing?
I feel like this borders on the hypocritical, but this is something I wrestle with a lot. Here’s the issue: should I give up everything I have in order to go build the Kingdom in some desperate part of the world? Am I really doing all God wants me to do in my suburban, 21st century , American lifestyle? In my gut, I see all that I have and I think, “Wow, this is a lot, and I am really, really lucky.”
Somehow I have to reconcile what I have and what I do with Jesus’ commands to spread the Gospel, and his teachings regarding wealth and kingdom living. Then, there is this, the greatest commandment:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV).
So if I get this right, the most important thing I should be doing is loving God; and, the second is loving my neighbor. Now just what exactly does that mean?
Think of it like this. If I told you when you were 15 years old to love your wife or to love your husband, you’d think I was crazy. How could you? One, you most likely did not know your future spouse, and two, you surely were not married. So how could you love them? You couldn’t love your spouse until you met your spouse. Until you found out you had common interests, and shared outlooks and deep affection and concern for each other. When that happened, you could love your spouse.
It’s the same with the greatest of commandments. In loving God, my way of responding to that is to ask myself, “Who am I loving?” The best answer is Jesus. I know his Grace. I know His joy in me as His creation. I know His desire to forgive me. I know that He loves me so much, He did a lot gain my trust. I know that He is kind. He is compassionate. He is giving. I know that he will walk with me through any turmoil and will never, ever, ever turn His back on me.
Now, as you think of this, and it unfolds, as you come to know the Lord and to love the Lord, recognize that this commandment to love God is so much more than an abstract idea. Our Lord makes it a real and overpowering reality.
When you wonder about your career, think of something like this: Is what I am doing right now, this week, this month, this year, loving Jesus? Am I praising Him at work and in everything I do? Am I behaving in a way that I am loving Him? Am I acting in loving ways towards my colleagues, my clients, my suppliers? In other words, my neighbors?
If you work through this, and are clear about who it is you’re are loving, then as you ask yourself questions like the ones above, one of two things will happen. First, you’ll see and know that your actions are loving God. Hence, you’re probably in a place He wants you. Or second, you’ll get some understanding that you are not loving God. If the second is your situation, then you have to ask yourself, is the answer because I am not acting in loving ways, or is it that God really wants me to be somewhere else? I have found that my own dissatisfaction with my vocation is more often found in my own arrogance, my own selfishness, and my own blindness to my actions.
Just a gentle disclaimer: I am not saying that you should stay in a bad situation or that everything will be 100% clear. This is still a work-in-progress for my understanding of this scripture and how it applies to vocation. But that being said…
Know who it is your are loving. Then work on loving Him more. And then you’ll be doing what He wants you to be doing.