Recognizing Divine Confirmation and CallingBlog / Produced by The High Calling
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
Robert works in the home office of a large, multinational corporation. Over the past few years, he has consistently moved up the management ladder. Through his work in the human resources department, he has provided wise and faithful service to many company employees. Robert has even gained the confidence of the highest officers in the company. He speaks passionately about the bright future he sees for himself in the company. Business opportunities, he believes, can be God’s confirmation of our attempts to be faithful disciples of Christ in the workplace.
Robert’s job is not without its frustrations, however. His immediate boss, John, is not a practicing Christian, and Robert finds their daily interactions both difficult and frustrating. He even views his relationship with John as a potential barrier to his progression within the company’s management ranks. Unless he can transfer to another supervisor, he worries his ascent within the company may be stymied.
Out of the blue, Robert has been solicited to apply for a management position in a faith-based organization. Surprisingly, he found himself irritated at this turn of events. After all, a bright future lay before him with his present employer. This new opportunity almost seemed a temptation from Satan to divert Robert from what "God had planned for him" with his present employer. He viewed it as an unnecessary complication in his otherwise well-planned life. His questions to our group seemed appropriate according to his view of what was happening: "Why would God let this temptation come my way right now, and how does God intend for me to respond?"
Discerning how and where God is at work can be challenging. Knowing what to look for or how to interpret events calls for the use of holy imagination and a lively understanding of scripture. We asked Robert to consider what 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 might have to say to his situation. In that passage, Paul gives thanks for the ways that the Lord has confirmed Paul’s witness of Christ among the Corinthians by enriching them with various gifts of speech and knowledge. Paul also promises that the Lord Jesus Christ will confirm them until the end. He will even confirm the witness of their daily work if they eagerly expect the Lord to do so. The passage closes in 1:9 with the overarching promise that "God is faithful." He called us into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and He is faithful.
Our group asked Robert to consider whether the new job opportunity might be another gracious calling from God rather than a temptation coming from Satan. The fact that a faith-based group had heard of Robert’s faithful “witness of Christ” in his own work with his current employer might be seen as additional divine confirmation of Robert’s faithfulness. Moreover, God might be providing Robert with a “win-win” situation, a chance to test the strength of his vocation to stay in his present employment—with its obvious opportunities and potential limitations—and a chance to offer himself to a new career serving in a faith-based organization. Thus, God may be providing Robert with two distinct and positive callings—either of which might lead Robert to continued fruitfulness as a faithful follower of Christ.
Through this discussion, Robert’s eyes and ears were opened to see and understand. God is faithful to those who take their partnership with Jesus Christ seriously and who follow him faithfully. No matter what our daily work, God calls us deeper and deeper into that partnership—if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Questions for Further Reflection:
• Identify a situation or relationship where the fruitfulness of your discipleship may represent divine confirmation of your witness of Christ in that context.
• Identify a situation that may seem a temptation or distraction from a present calling but in fact may be God offering you a new direction for your path of discipleship.
• Are you open to the possibility that a job to which you may once have been called is now at an end? If so, do you see God providing you with other callings as you prepare to turn in new directions?