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Careers for Christians: Where do we start?

Credit: Andy Aldridge/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Andy Aldridge/Flickr/Creative Commons

People everywhere are trying to find satisfying careers; we want to be fulfilled in the job we do to earn our paycheck. Sometimes, just getting a paycheck is the challenge. We are getting close to the new year when most of us think about these things.

So, if God cares, does he care about this part of our lives?

I may be on my third career now, or my fourth, depending on how you count some jobs. When I was a boy I delivered newspapers and when I was fourteen, I worked as the shop boy in the Yarn Barn. Knitting was a big thing and one of the ball winding machines had a broken tension hook, so I was the tension hook. I tugged on the yarn with my fingers as it raced through the machine, and I still have all my fingers.

No one likes their first job, and I have moved on since then.

I am sure the Bible has career advice for Christians, and really, the good book is good for everyone. Try this: Everyone else starts at the top, you start at the bottom.

“Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” … Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4: 6 and 10)

One of the basic rules of project management is that a large project must be broken down to its smallest parts, tasks or packets. The resources needed for each small piece are identified and then the small pieces are put back together. A realistic project emerges when we rebuild from the bottom, assembling the smallest tasks into something real.

I have worked in universities and colleges where privilege and favoritism are approved policies. When a famous researcher was recruited as a superstar professor, the spouse, husband or wife was promised a job somewhere in the system. I worked somewhere in the system and I have too many stories about the annoying people who parachuted in and pretended to do the job, and then told me how to do my job.

We don’t need to start at $80,000 with full benefits and free parking; I have seen how that doesn’t work. We need to join, and grow, and apprentice until we can bring the right person to the job. We need to become bigger than the job.

I once met a man who parked semi trailers all day. He “spotted” fifty-three-foot trailers into tight spots with amazing skill, and he seemed happy. He said his family was also doing well too. I asked him what he would do if he lost his job and he said “I would get another job.” I asked how long that would take and he said “I would get a new job the same day.” He had a career in the industry, because he had a job with his employer, because he was so excellent with the tasks.

For a career, the smallest packet is the person, you and me. God makes new things starting with new people. If Christianity is a brand, it is the largest and most recognized in the world, although researchers believe McDonald’s golden arches are more recognizable than the Christian cross. You can’t win them all.

Jesus began building what he called his kingdom, the world’s most successful brand, by enlisting people, one at a time. From that base, he changed world history. The apostle Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, but he started his career, or life work in a city called Antioch, apparently about 14 years later. The man was prepared for the job and he was so good that the job became a career; his calling from God.

If you are searching for a new job, or a career, I hope you find that missing piece in your life, and I hope it gives you satisfaction for many years. God can do that.

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. (Mark 1: 16 to 20)

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