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Finding God's Will for Your Career

How can we figure out what God wants us to do?

I know people who are lawyers and who drive big machines and who are
school teachers and who are coaches and who are selling insurance and
who are accountants and who are science research professors and who
are dentists and who are pastors and who are missionaries. What each of
these people does matters. I kept thinking about this wordmatters. Im
unconvinced that some jobsthe so-called spiritual onesare valuable
while others are secular and therefore not as valuable.
Many are struggling to discover a career that matters. Perhaps the reason
so many today flounder from one job to another is because instead of
examining what they do in light of the Kingdom, they fail to realize that what
they are doing really does matter. (Unless they are paid to be professional
spammers, which cant be Kingdom work.) It is time to reconsider what we
do in light of the Kingdom dream of Jesus, and I believe His Kingdom vision
can turn what we do into something that matters and can give our life
See Your Vocation through the Kingdom Dream
Your vocation, which in so many ways is unique to you, can genuinely
matter if you keep your eyes on the Kingdom of God as your guiding North
Star. Teaching matters when you treat your students as humans whom you
love and whom you are helping. Coaching soccer matters when you
connect kids to the Kingdom. Growing vegetables becomes Kingdom work
when we enjoy Gods green world as a gift from Him. Collecting taxes
becomes Kingdom work when you treat each person as someone who is
made in the image (the Eikon in Greek) of God and as a citizen instead of
as a suspect. Jobs become vocations and begin to matter when we
connect what we do to Gods Kingdom vision for this world. Sure, theres
scout work involvedlike learning English grammar well enough to write
clean sentences and reading great writers who can show you how good
prose works. Like hours with small children when we are challenged to
make some mind-numbing routines into habits of the heart and Kingdom.
It is easy to see missional work in the slums of India as something that
matters. Perhaps the desire to do something that matters is why so many

of us get involved in missional work like that. But most of us dont have a
vocation like that, and that means most of us do lots of scout work as a
matter of routine. We have to believe that the mundane matters to God,
and the way to make the mundane matter is to baptize what we do in the
Kingdom vision of Jesus.
Its Not about Money (Completely)
Only 15 percent of American households have a six-figure income, and
only about 5 percent of American individuals have a six-figure income.
Instead of focusing our lives on a six-figure dream, followers of Jesus need
to focus on the Kingdom life, which turns the six-figure dream inside out.
Jesus dream involved a radical detachment from possessions:
But seek first his kingdom
and his righteousness,
and all these things [clothing, food, shelter]
will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33
It involved a willingness to contribute to the needs of others and virtually to
renounce a life soaked in making money:
Sell your possessions and give to the poor.
Luke 12:33
While many in the history of the Church have given up everything they
owned in order to serve others, and I think of St. Basil the Great and St.
Francis of Assisi, the rest of us are challenged to cut back and to tone it
down so we can take from our abundance and provide for those who are in

When the Lord of the Christian is a poor man, the wealth of His followers is
brought into embarrassing clarity. When the Kingdom dream of Jesus
shapes our vocations, it turns us from folks who strive for wealth into folks
whose vocations are used for others.

Do What You Do Well

I grew up with the idea that I could only be happy if I found Gods will.
People do weird things because they think they are doing Gods will.
There is a reason why so many people quote Frederick Buechners famous
line about Gods will: because it tells a deep truth. Buechner said Gods will
is this: The place where God calls you is where your deep gladness meets
the worlds deep hunger. This beautifully combines the Kingdom dream of
Jesus and your own personal dreamfind that place and do that.
If you keep your eye on the Kingdom of God, if you keep in mind that
deeply personal nature of all you do, then you can pursue that place where
your deepest gladness and the worlds deepest needs meet, and in that
place your life will speak. You are asked merely to discern the intersection
of what God is doingKingdom of Godand what you are asked to do in
what Gods doing.

Just Say No
There are too many places where we find the worlds deepest hunger, and
many of them appeal to us as the place where we might find our deepest
gladness. When we try to do too many good things, we burn out or we tune
out or we leave out someone we love. Ten years of chasing all of the
worlds deepest hungers can almost ruin a life.
Jesus said this so well when He told some would-be disciples that Kingdom
dreams take priority. One man, distracted by his family, asked Jesus if he
could stop following Him and do something else. Jesus said, No one who
puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of
God (Luke 9:62).

Those are strong words; they are also true words. The focus, Jesus
teaches all of us, must be to do the thing we are called to do as something
swallowed up in Kingdom work.
In order to do that one thing well, one must guard from trying to do too
many other things. Saying no to other things is what keeps life balanced.
Andy Crouch, a well-known and very smart Christian thinker, said we
shouldnt try to save the world but we should play our part in the
redemptive work of this world with a small group of friends. I completely
agree with Andy on this. Id put it this way: the way to save the world is for
everyone to do the one thing God calls them to do. When we start trying to
do everything in an enthusiastic dash to save the world, we neither save
the world nor do what we are called to do.

Purpose in the ordinary

The further we get into the ordinary realities of our work, the harder it is to
keep the Kingdom of God in focus. So we return to our opening point but
this time with a slightly different focus: Let Gods Kingdom work swallow up
what you do. Its easier to be theoretical about the Kingdom of God than it
is to let the Kingdom swallow up what you do. If the Kingdom of God is
about justice, love, peace, wisdom and moral commitment, then you are
summoned by God to let your life speak justice, love, peace, wisdom and
moral goodnesswherever you are and whatever you do.
But does this do something that matters really matter? Does it matter
ultimately or to God whether or not we follow Jesus? Does it matter
whether or not we take seriously His words about Kingdomjustice, love,
peace, wisdom, Pentecost and give Him our total life? Does it really
In one word: yes. For Jesus, what you do with your life mattersboth now
and forever.