Do I Have a Calling?
This lesson was piloted in April 2017 by Southern California Teen Challenge, in a program for men rehabilitating from drug addiction and prison. To see all lessons, go to the Men's Prison Curriculum Table of Contents.
Did you ever hear someone talk about his job as a calling?
When people use the word calling, they usually mean that God pointed them to a particular career. Mostly this is something that pastors say. Or you sometimes hear of doctors or artists talk about being called to their work. But not often. For most people, a job is a job.
According to the Bible, there is more than one way to be called. Everyone’s first and most important calling is to belong to Christ. Everyone is called to this. No matter who you are or what you do, you’re included.
Including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ
Discussion Question: What did it feel like when God called you to believe in Jesus? Did you ever feel the same way about a job?
Some people in the Bible got called to specific jobs. God called Moses to help free the Hebrew people from slavery.
God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” … Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey… So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
God called Moses to this job, which was part political, part military, and part spiritual.
This type of direct calling is exciting but rare, even in the Bible. Most heroes in the Bible didn’t hear directly from God what they were supposed to do. Instead, they just did whatever work was in front of them. Some very faithful people in the Bible took care of other people’s animals (Genesis 29:15). One of the saints waited tables (Acts 6:2-5), and another made tents for a living (Acts 18:3).
Discussion Question: What was the last job you had? Did you feel like your work was important to God?
God does not have a preference for any particular type of work, as long as it’s an honest living. But he does care that everyone who can work should find productive work to do.
Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.
(2 Thessalonians 3:10-13)
It doesn’t matter what job you do. You can be a godly stone cutter.
The Lord spoke to Moses: See I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.
Bezalel was called to cut stones and carve wood for God’s purposes. In the Bible, there is not a competition between the work of ministry and secular work. Any job that faithful people do is important to God.
Discussion Question: Does anything surprise you from these two Bible passages?
If you’re wondering what type of job to look for, here are three tips from the Bible on choosing a profession:
1) Pay attention to your unique gifts.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us; prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
2) Pay attention to the needs around you.
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.
This includes the needs of your family. The Bible makes a special point that you should seek a job that provides for your family.
And 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)
3) Pay particular attention to any job that gives you joy.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them.
Discussion Question: How did you find your last job?
Discussion Question: What do you think would be the perfect job for you?