“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Just because someone doesn’t feel the push to go into ministry doesn’t make their vocation any less important to the Lord. As Jesus was a carpenter prior to his emergence into society-at-large as a rabbi, we’d do well to reflect on our position in the workforce and the world, whatever it may be.
“And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” (Acts 18:1)
Our best work is done...
Finish that sentence. The verse above refers to Paul. Think about other figures in the Bible (namely most, if not all, though I haven’t checked) who held down gigs that were other than standing in a pulpit proclaiming the Word. There was Stephen, called upon to fill a role as a waiter (Acts 6). We have Lydia, a “seller of purple” (Acts 16:14) and then there are the various blue-collar workers the comprise Christ’s rabbinic entourage (references throughout the opening chapters of the gospels). Point is, the “ministry” is what you do.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
As you may know, curriculum vitae is like a résumé but more so. They’re typically sent in for higher-order academic positions. Know, though, that it’s Latin, literally, for “the course of one’s life”. The road our lives take may wind in and out of any number of jobs, side jobs, careers or otherwise and while none of those positions define us, God would have us learn things about Him and about life that we would learn no other way.
In the twentieth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks about “the kingdom of Heaven” (verse 1) in terms of hiring and day labor. While all of the applicants get work and all of them work for a “penny” (the minimum-est of wages, I might add), Jesus sews up the parable with the counterintuitive “many be called, but few chosen. (20:16)” In the chapter, a couple things stand out, namely the notion that anyone serving the Lord is on his timetable and in his employ. The idea of working for profit is introduced, but we’ll talk about that in a moment. As Christ is a storyteller par excellence, one can glean so much from the simple ways in which he weaves together the ingredients to his parables. Implied throughout the story is this notion of non-judgment upon those who haven’t been serving the Lord as long as others. Yes, the vineyard metaphor most-likely pertains to the Church—as in church work—but Jesus considers the whole world to be the factory floor for his operation. So this means that we are always working for him whether we realize it or not.
Saving for retirement
“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-22)
So, what Paul is saying here is to stay true to one’s gifts as given by God. This doesn’t mean that one’s career or vocation can’t change but that any lateral movement in the place one finds oneself must be done at the leading of the Holy Spirit. Moving on because someone wants more money or more perks is not the highest order to which one should aspire. Climbing a ladder doesn’t necessarily fill the will of God if that ladder doesn’t reach the right place. Contentment is worth more than all the money in the world. I love Paul’s little instruction there: “care not for it”. In other words, don’t let a less-than-desirable job oppress you or define you or squeeze God’s joy out of your heart. You can do so much for Him wherever you’re at. A paycheck is merely a bonus.
And if you do feel called to the ministry, more power to you (see 1 Timothy 3:1).