Genesis So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis , So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
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Exodus For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. Isaiah They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. It can be difficult to discern the particular work God may be calling you to, but there can be no doubt that he made you as a worker and that he expects you to work, to the degree you are able. God calls us to belong to Christ in every element of our lives.
First, we must remember that work is not limited to paid work.
The work God leads us to may be unpaid work, such as raising children or caring for a disabled family member or tutoring students after school. Even if you have a paid job, the most important work God calls you to may be outside your job.
We have seen that caring for children and for aged or incapacitated people is a kind of work, and many people who do it also have another paid job. On the other hand, a so-called hobby could be the most important work God is leading you to. You might work at writing, painting, music, acting, astronomy, leading a youth group, volunteering at a historical society, maintaining a nature reserve or a thousand other kinds of work.
If something like this is your calling, you will probably engage it in a more serious way than someone else to whom it is a leisure activity, yet you may still earn your living in some other way.
There is a distinction between work and leisure. Second, we must take care not to let work dominate the other elements of life. If God leads you to be married and to be a small business owner, for example, then you will have to balance the time and responsibilities of both callings.
Work should not crowd out leisure, rest and worship. There is no formula for balancing work and the other elements of life. We have seen that:. God is much more concerned that you come under the saving grace of Christ and participate in his work of creation and redemption, whatever your job may be. Exactly what kind of work you do is a lower-level concern. In fact, the distinctive work of the Holy Spirit is to guide and empower people for the life and work to which God leads them.
In the Old Testament, God gave people the skills needed for their work on occasion, as we have seen with Bezalel and Oholiab in the building of the tabernacle. But now the Spirit routinely guides believers to particular work and gives them the skills they need 1 Corinthians Read on to explore how God guides people to particular work.
The gifts of the Spirit discussed in the New Testament e.
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Nor are they limited only to uses in the church. This article does not attempt to prove this position, but merely to acknowledge it. With the understanding that the ultimate image of calling in the Bible is the calling to follow Jesus, we are ready to explore callings to particular kinds of work. No more than a hundred or so people were called by God in this sense. God called Noah to build the ark. God called Moses and Aaron to their tasks Exodus , He called Abram and Sarah and a few others to undertake journeys or to relocate which might be taken as a kind of workplace calling.
God chose Bezalel and Oholiab as chief craftsmen for the tabernacle Exodus Jesus called the apostles and some other of his disciples e.
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Aside from these examples, very few people in the Bible received an individual call to a particular kind of work from God. This strongly suggests that a direct calling from God to particular work is also rare today.
Therefore, we will not discuss direct, unmistakable, personal calling further, but will instead focus on whether God guides or leads people to particular types of work through less dramatic means. Although God does not give most people a direct, individual, unmistakable call to a particular job or profession, God does give guidance to people in less dramatic forms, including Bible study, prayer, Christian community and individual reflection.
The first consideration is the needs of the world. The single strongest indicator of what God wants you to do is probably your awareness of what needs to get done to make the world more like what God intends. Earning a living to support yourself and your family is one example mentioned in the Bible:. Whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Let people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.
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Another biblical example is working so as to meet the needs of individuals around you besides your family:. Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you. Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Of course, it is impossible for you to meet every need of the world, so you have to narrow it down a bit. Start with needs for which you are personally responsible, such as raising your children or paying your debts.
Beyond that, pay attention to needs that you are in a good position to meet, or that few other people are willing to address, or that you find especially pressing. You might be in a good position to run for an elected office in your own city or town, for example, compared to moving away to find work. On the other hand, you might be one of the few people willing to document human rights abuses in a country half way around the world.
Or you might become convinced that teaching troubled youth is more pressing than joining a band. It would be pointless to get a job counseling troubled youth, only to neglect your own children. The point is that God has given everyone the ability to recognize something of what the world needs. He seems to expect us to notice it and get to work, rather than waiting for a special call from him. There is no biblical formula for translating the needs of the world into a precise job calling. The second consideration is your skills and gifts.
The Bible says that God gives people gifts for accomplishing the work he wants them to do, and it names some of the gifts and skills that God imparts:. Do those who plow for sowing plow continually? Do they continually open and harrow their ground? When they have leveled its surface, do they not scatter dill, sow cummin, and plant wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border?
For they are well instructed; their God teaches them. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
As the last two passages show, when Paul discusses the gifts of the Spirit, he is usually referring to their use in the church. Gifts assessment tools can be very helpful for discerning your gifts and exploring how they relate to various types of work. The most rigorous, statistically-verified tools are typically available through professional counselors and institutions because they require qualified interpretation.
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While these are not explicitly Christian in their language, they can, with a skilled, Christian interpreter become starting points for exploring God's gifts and his guidance to work. There are also explicitly Christian tools with a conscious spiritual and theological foundation.
Christian career counselors can be found in most urban areas, in almost every Christian college and university setting, and in some individual churches.
However, it is easy to pay too much attention to your skills and gifts.
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