What do you want to be when you grow up? This question has challenged many a small child over the generations. Some have stated the classic “firefighter,” and others have chosen to be nurses or doctors. As those same children consider that question years later, they’ll most likely change their preference from “firefighter” to something more hip like being a singer or maybe an actor. When the decision finally comes to choose a career in college, many of those children who have grown up will realize that their dream job was either “ridiculous” or “too much work.” They’ll settle for everyday jobs like the owner of a small business or a mechanic, and the really brave ones will go for jobs like being a musician or a soldier. But do we really understand what this whole idea of a career is? In college, we train in school to learn about how to be good at performing a job in this world. The thing most of us fail to realize, however, is that we will be working this job almost every day for the rest of our lives. We don’t seem to fully understand this concept until we actually get to college, and even then some of us still don’t really grasp what our education in those years means to our futures. Our career is a huge chunk of our entire existence. Don’t you think we should be treating our college years with some serious respect, thought, and prayer? After all, what is our life’s ultimate purpose? Nope, not to live the American dream. To glorify God! To exalt the Creator of heaven and earth! To give the Ruler of our lives the respect He deserves! To use the gifts He has given us to spread the good news! Shouldn’t we be thinking about how to please Him rather than our desires, our wants, and our preferences in this short life? I think so.
So, what will you choose to pursue when an entire college education is placed in front of you? Will you go for your dreams? Will you serve your King? You can try to do both, but serving two masters isn’t a part of the equation (Matthew 6:24). I believe that too many Christians treat their job as just a way to make money and support a family. Yes, God wants you to take care of your family, but careers are NOT limited to just money. They define the actions and services you’ll be carrying out for a huge part of your life. Why not spend that big chunk of time every day serving Christ instead of bagging groceries? Why not preach the Word to the lost or build thriving churches in a faraway land? Why not serve one of the people doing those things? Why don’t we devote this huge part of life to serving God the very best we can? Yes, we can be a shining example for God at the workplace. Yes, we can share the eternally powerful Gospel with a complete stranger at lunch break. But if you haven’t taken college yet, and you’re thinking about your future, why don’t you use your education to train for something a little more powerful? Forgive me for sounding insensitive, but why do we pursue a normal American job when there are plenty of other people to carry out those jobs in our country? “I can be a light to my coworkers,” we say. Of course we can, and that’s great, but wouldn’t we logically be helping more souls by serving in a ministry or going overseas to seek and save the many lost nations of the earth? Sometimes I think we use ideas like “being a light to coworkers” as crutches to make it look like we want to have a job in America for more Godly reasons than we know are true. Sometimes we really want to take up programming just because it’s fun, or join the military because it pays for college. We don’t really give God any say in the matter. We sometimes choose normal jobs in America because that’s what everybody around us is doing, and it’s a lot easier than starting our own ministry or living in a foreign country. God doesn’t call us to be like normal Americans. In fact, He warns us not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). My point here is that we should not accept a normal American job because it’s easier than ministry, because it’s what we want, or because it’s what everyone else does. There is only one good reason to accept a normal American job, and we’ll get to that later.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:39
Personally, I don’t know how any true disciple of God can not want to give their life career completely to the Lord. Of course it’ll be hard, but it’ll be so exciting! It’ll be the adventure of a lifetime! I wouldn’t be too proud of myself if I showed up at Heaven to enter into the glorious presence of my Savior just after dying in my sleep in my large retirement home. God would say, “So, how were you serving me down there? Did you use your last days for my glory?” There would likely be an awkward silence. Would you rather rest easy on this earth while thousands suffer around the world, or would you be willing to sacrifice your time, comforts, or even your life for God? There’s nothing more exhilarating to me than the thought of dying for my faith in Christ. I want to influence others through my dedication to the Lord even unto death. I want people to see what God did with me and say, “I want what he had!” I want God to save souls through me not only while I walk this earth, but long after I die. I want to pass away leaving the impression that I was a true Christian, and God used me to my last ounce of life. Keith Green died years ago, but his music and his ministry (run by his wife) are still saving lives today! That’s the kind of life I want to live. For now, I will wait for the future God has for me and do my best to build up my faith and obedience to God, but I hope to one day serve among those whom God uses to bring unspeakable glory to His Name.
A large part of serving your God to the best of your ability is the job you choose. And you do want to serve God to the best of your ability, right? In college, you train for a certain art. You might not think that there are too many amazingly “Christian” things you can train for at first, but think about it. You could take speech and writing classes to hone your abilities at possibly writing Christian books or preaching in the future. You could go to a Christian school to take a missionary class. You could study Greek or Hebrew to get a better understanding of God’s Word, or you could study Spanish or another foreign language to serve as a translator on the mission field. You could become an expert at many different everyday jobs needed for missions. Doctors, construction workers, teachers, and others are all needed on the mission field.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27
While there are countless ways to serve God in other countries, there are plenty of ways to serve Him in this country, too. America was founded on Christian principles, but every day our country slips farther away from any trace of Christianity that might be left in it. Gay marriage is legal. Think about that! Abortion (the murder of millions of children each year) has been legal for quite some time now! We are perfectly fine with ridiculing Christians, but saying anything about Islam being a false religion makes you “racist.” Having said this, I think it’s clear that this country needs a wake-up call! It needs radical and supernatural change, and the only way that’s going to happen is through YOU and ME. God, through everyday Christians, is the only hope for this country. If we sit back and let “others” do all the work, does that really mean we want to serve our God? Are we really advocates of our incredible faith by serving coffee at Starbucks and wishing we had more money in the bank for a new iPhone? I don’t think so. We need to be impacting our lost nation! We can do that by writing Christian books, preaching the Truth, handing out tracts in the forgotten alleys of the city, writing solid Christian songs, or serving in a ministry of some kind in our own towns.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” – Matthew 16:26
I understand that not all of us are called to serve overseas. Not everybody is a good writer. Not every guy can preach. Not just anyone could run their own ministry and support a family at the same time. God puts us in certain places for a reason. Despite how it may seem in this post, I do not think God calls everyone to be in a “ministry.” I think it’s a requirement for a Christian to be serving God wherever they are, but not everyone gets the chance to write amazing books or share the Gospel overseas. Some people just can’t, and God knows that. For instance, there aren’t many good reasons to stay inside your warm American home all your life, but family is a good reason. I don’t think it would be wise to try raising a ton of kids if you are constantly away from them due to your schedule and unable to nurture their lives. That’s being unfaithful to your family. Some people need to stay home and raise knights and princesses for God. But think about it… if you work a normal American job with the joy of the Lord and raise a Godly Christian family, you have a ministry right there! Your job may not be focused on helping others serve Christ, but you can still share the Gospel with others and work as unto the Lord. Instead of being in a big ministry, you’ll be able to spend all that energy instructing your kids in God’s ways and teaching them to love the Lord and desire to serve Him. This is just as worthy a cause for your King as is mission work.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5
So, what now? What do I do with my career and life? Here are your three basic options as a Christian:
1. Give up on Christianity and pursue the American dream
2. Live for your Lord, get a job, and raise a Godly family for His glory
3. Serve in missions work either in America or overseas
Which will you choose? Let me tell you right now, do NOT go after the American dream. Don’t get a normal job, raise a basic American family, and waste your existence away watching reality TV or indulging in hobbies that won’t matter when you get to heaven. If you do choose to stay in America, raise a Godly family and make an impact around you. Use the comforts and time that this country provides to spend more time teaching your children in the way of righteousness. Tell your co-workers about Christ and work hard at your job. You are successfully wasting your life if you choose to stay in America and don’t raise a Godly family or tell anyone about God. If you’re single and you’re out of school, help out with ministries, witness on the street, know your Bible cover to cover, or at least do something! Don’t you dare sit around doing NOTHING for God’s glory and still call yourself a Christian. James makes it clear in the Bible that faith without works is useless! You have a job to carry out, and that is to save the world’s souls from eternal damnation. Whether that’s raising a family of warriors for Christ, writing a life-changing book, or building a church in Africa, you are required as a Christian to serve your King with the time He’s given you. Never forget that your life is God’s. He bought you with a price.
“Only let each person live the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17
“The Lord says to us tonight, He gave us His son; why won’t we give Him our life in return? All of it. Why not? He loves us.” – Keith Green