Our career is one of the most important areas of our lives. For some, it is also the most demanding area of their lives. It also determines a lot about us – where we live, the sort of people we spend time with, and what sort of contribution we make to the world.
If we aren’t in ministry, it is tempting to think our career doesn’t matter to Jesus. As long as we aren’t doing anything illegal (pimp, drug dealer, hit man, etc), He doesn’t care that much about our work.
That simply isn’t true! Jesus pays close attention to how we handle ourselves in the workplace, because it is another arena where we can express our devotion to Him.
Jesus Had a Career
It is important to realize that Jesus had a career. Before He began His ministry, He had an ordinary job. That is why the people in Nazareth were offended by Him. After hearing Him teach they asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55)
For most of His adult life, He was a carpenter. He was a regular, blue-collar worker. He had to please customers, meet deadlines, and pay taxes. While learning the trade, He had to report to a boss (his father). He might have even had employees working for Him.
He worked hard to provide for Himself and His family. But His job was more than just earning a paycheck. It was an opportunity to please God and earn credibility with others.
God didn’t call Jesus into ministry until after His career in carpentry. And that isn’t because there is something wrong or unspiritual about manual labor; it simply wasn’t His long-term calling on Jesus’ life.
Jesus Changes Your Career
There are two specific ways Jesus changes your career:
First, He changes how you work. You will begin to display Christian character and values in the workplace. You will begin to see your job not just as a source of income, but a platform for sharing the gospel.
Specifically, your attitude toward your coworkers will change. You will strive to earn their respect by working hard and doing a good job. Paul says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands…so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Your attitude toward your boss will change as well. Rather than grumbling or rebelling against them, you will strive to please them. Finally, your attitude toward those under your authority will change too. You will strive to treat your employees with fairness and understanding (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22 – 4:1).
Second, Jesus may change what you do for a living. He left a career in carpentry to pursue God’s calling into ministry. And He asked His disciples to leave their careers in order to follow Him.
Four of His disciples were fisherman. He called them while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22). Another disciple was a tax collector. Jesus called him while he was sitting at his booth (Matthew 9:9).
There is no guarantee that He won’t do the same to you. Are you willing to leave behind your career in order to follow Him? Are you at least willing to let Him change you so your non-ministry career looks more like His?
How has Jesus changed your career? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
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