And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. ESV Matthew 4:19-20
We had some interesting conversations last evening with the families we invited over for dinner. Changing careers seemed to be the common thread. One man worked for the same company for 30 years before switching to a similar job with much less stress. Another man will be retiring from the military to whatever job he can find that grants him more time with his family. Another woman worked a government job and struggled with an incompetent supervisor and fellow employees that are just punching the clock, counting the days until their retirement. Another man continually switched jobs, always looking for a bit more pay, better benefits and the like, before finally landing an ideal career. All were driven to stay in their careers or make changes for various reasons.
As we have seen before, God created us to work. In that sense, our careers are part of our spiritual life. Part of our spiritual formation involves submitting our careers to God’s leading. Generally, we assume God leads us to take promotions, to make more money, to expand our influence. While He often does, this isn’t necessarily the case. God forced Joseph to go from favored son to favored slave to favored inmate. In each “career” Joseph was favored, but he was demoted rather than promoted. David transitioned from shepherd to king; Nebuchadnezzar transitioned from king to animal. The point is this: God calls us to work, but He also calls us to change our occupations at times. Sometimes He asks us to step “downward” from a career perspective. Perhaps to care more for family or devote more time to kingdom living. Perhaps to maintain our sanity and enjoy life. At other times, He asks us to step “up” into a harder career. Perhaps it gives us greater resources to invest in the kingdom, perhaps more influence or a better platform to share the gospel. Perhaps it develops our character.
Most likely, at some point in your life, God will call you to change careers. When that time comes, be open to all options. He may call you to forsake all and follow Him. Each path will be different, but seek His face and He will give you peace and direction.