5 Questions to Help You Find Your CallingBlog / Produced by TOW Project
You want your work to reflect your unique make-up, to fulfill you spiritually, and to make a difference in the world. You’re not just looking for a job – you’re looking for a calling. The Bible can help.
From the beginning of the Bible, God calls people to work. Some people get a direct call to a specific job, like Moses the political leader or Bezalel the stone cutter. Other Bible characters like Ruth or Esther used their circumstances and people around them to guide them to their calling.
If you’re wondering “How can I find my true calling?” here are 5 probing questions the Bible suggests you ask yourself. The answers can help you figure out what special work God has for you.
Calling Question 1: What work do I love?
Is there something you care so much about that you want to spend as much time as possible doing it? Art or music, starting a company, political action, raising children, researching something you find fascinating? Your deepest desires are important to God.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4
Sin and the complexity of the world mean you can’t just say, “I’ll do what makes me happy.” Sometimes it’s not possible to make a living doing what you most like, and you have to do it off-hours instead. In other cases, what seems to make you happy may be bad for you or someone else. It takes spiritual wisdom to separate temptation from true desires implanted by God. At the same time, your work should not feel like a punishment from God. Calling and joy are linked in Psalm 37. God is probably not calling you to work that you hate.
Calling Question 2: What are my gifts?
The Bible says that God gives people gifts for accomplishing the work he wants them to do.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.- 1 Corinthians 12:7
If certain work feels easy to you, that may be an indication of calling. Think back on your successful work experiences – what made you particularly useful? Check out a quiz like eParachute or other assessment tools designed to uncover your gifts.
The key about gifts is that God gives them for the common good. Instead of wondering what job might best show off your talents, think about how your uniqueness can best serve others.
Calling Question 3: How can I make a difference in the world around me?
Look around. Notice something that needs to get done? It may be an indication of what God is calling you to do.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. - Matthew 25:34-36
Are there needs in the world around you that only you can fill? Or issues that feel pressing to you? It doesn’t need to be something big or something that you need to quit your job to do. A few people will be called to tackle the world’s biggest most complicated problems, but more people are called to take on small problems right where they are. Maybe God is calling you to volunteer in your community, or to mentor someone who is overlooked at your company. The issues you notice are an indication of your calling.
Calling Question 4: What supports my family?
You need to work to support yourself and your family – this isn’t at odds with your true calling. Supporting a family is a vital spiritual calling, according to the Bible.
Whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Timothy 5:8
What you do for work should ideally meet your family’s needs. When you consider potential jobs, think about your current responsibilities as an integral part of your calling.
Calling Question 5: How can I help others through my work?
One way to think of calling is how you can bless others through your work.
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. - Romans 12:13–18.
You can bless people through all kinds of work, including the work of normal relationships. You don’t need to work for a nonprofit or as an overseas missionary to fulfill a calling. Maybe your career gives you the opportunity to care for people in your company, or maybe your calling is outside of work – in your family or community.
Don’t worry – Jesus offers calling insurance
Whether or not these questions help you discover God’s calling for your work, don’t worry. God’s most important call is simple: have faith in Jesus. God’s call to follow Christ is at the root of every other calling. If you’ve said Yes to a life in Christ, then you’ve already done the important work. Answering God’s primary call makes all other callings in God possible.
All things work together for good for those who love god, who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
For more on calling, see the Calling & Vocation Overview Article.