In Search of Significant Work

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Baby Boomers are nearing the age of retirement, but they haven't saved enough or what they did save via contributions to retirement plans has experienced poor performance. Many will need to work longer than they had hoped in order to decrease the chance of running out of money in retirement. Facing additional years of work, some of them wonder if there is more to a job than what they are currently experiencing.

However, other people are being forced out of the workplace due to the weak economy and corporate downsizings. Unemployment combined with underemployment is running near 20%. That's a lot of people displaced from the work force. Many of these men and women are analyzing their lives, including their careers, and wondering if there is something more.

Vocation: Seeking God's Call on Your Life

According to the Bible, a vocation or calling is that type of work which is best suited for a person's unique skill set. It is that type of work that you can perform better than anyone else. But we don't use these words as much today. Generally, we talk about our work and our job, but these words don't carry the rich meaning of “calling” and “vocation.” But too often, when people talk about calling and vocation, they mean something specifically spiritual, such as the work of a minister, priest, or missionary. But God doesn't limit the concepts of calling and vocation to full-time ministry jobs. The Bible speaks of many types of gifts and vocations. God equips people with multiple talents for the purpose of serving fellow humans and glorifying himself. To explain this principle, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of the body, which has need for many parts with specific functions. Just as each body part has value, each type of talent has value. He said, "Should the eye say to the ear I have no need for you? Or should the ear say to the hand I have no need for you?” The message is that God has a purpose for each person's unique set of gifts.

To this point, Dorothy Sayers wisely said, “All work is Christian work if done well and unto God.” All work, not just ecclesiastical work, but all work has value if done well and in a way that honors God and with a good attitude and with the purpose of helping fellow human beings. This means the work of teachers, nurses, engineers, salesmen, and accountants matters to God. Your work matters to God. We don't all need to become missionaries to please God, but we are expected to do our work with excellence.

Bloom Where He Planted You

Although some people may want to change professions, many of us have responsibilities to provide for our families that constrain us from quitting our current work to pursue something better. In this economy there simply aren't that many jobs available. But we can bloom where we are and pursue significance in our current work.

We simply need to learn how to integrate our faith and work in a way that serves coworkers or clients or patients. Then they will want to know why we have good attitudes, why we do our work with excellence, why we care. And we can tell them why. God calls all of us to develop integrity in our lives and work. God wants us to live as followers of Christ at work – to consider what it means to be “Salt and Light” in the work place.

Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:

  • What gifts has God given you? What type of work can you do well, perhaps better than others?
  • In what way can you invest your talent and skills to build Jesus' kingdom here on earth?
  • How do you know if you are doing the right kind of work?
  • For more inspiration on this subject read Discover Your Gifts, Discover Your Calling or Why Work Is Holy.
Note: photograph, "Stripes and Ladder - India" by Maciej Dakowicz, used with permission.