At first glance, I might not strike you as the kind of Christian who has a calling. Like many graduates, I entered the job market unsure of what I ‘really wanted to do with my life’. Under pressure to ‘get on and find a job’, I applied for a role that looked promising and was lucky enough to get it, even though it was in an industry I’d never considered joining before. I asked God what He thought about the job, but heard only silence, which confused me. Didn’t God have an opinion about the job I did? Shouldn’t I feel like I was on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ path? Or perhaps that was just something for people with a clear religious ‘calling’. Perhaps I just needed to get on with earning a living. So putting thoughts of calling aside, I decided to do just that.
It’s only with hindsight that I’ve started to understand how wrong I was. After all, despite what some Christian books claim, many of us spend long periods of our lives feeling much like I did. We know that God calls people to very specific tasks – we’ve met them in our churches, at conferences, and on mission trips. But we haven’t felt a strong sense that we should be doing something special or specific. It feels like God isn’t really interested in our working lives, so instead we focus on the ‘Christian’ things we can do in our spare time, like volunteering at church.
But in thinking like this, we forget what it means to be a Christian. To follow Jesus is to believe that we’re no longer playing this game of life on our own. It’s to believe in a God who longs to accompany us through every moment, guiding us, shaping us and lending us His strength. And since we spend so much time at work, you can bet He wants to be involved there too. God has no interest in being a hobby, wedged into our spare time or stuck between badminton and hiking on a list of interests we last wrote down on a UCAS application.
But if God cares so much about the details, why didn’t I feel more of a sense of purpose doing my job? Perhaps I had misunderstood what it means to have a calling. What if being called by God is not just about the exact job you do, but rather about who you are when you do it? Whatever role I’m in, there will always be one ultimate, unchanging calling upon my life that transcends the details of my employment. And that is to be an ambassador for Christ in the places that I find myself, being God’s person where I am. If I believe this, then I can no longer let myself off the hook by saying I only have a ‘job’. My calling is a way of being that follows me everywhere I go – it is far more than a project or a programme that I sign up to in my spare time.
There’s something else I forgot. I forgot that as much as God cares about the lives of Christians, He cares about everyone else too. Jesus’s death on the cross, something so familiar that I can almost forget about it, is a sacrifice as much for my colleagues as for me. What God has done – and what God can do in our lives when we turn to Him – is too precious to keep to ourselves. If God cares about all people equally, then those we meet at work mean just as much to Him as those we meet through church work, and we are just as called to reflect Christ to them.
Now I’m not saying God won’t call you onto something very specific at some point. But know that right now, whatever workplace you’re in, God is there, already at work in the lives of your colleagues, inviting you to join in. God has a plan for your workplace; remembering this throughout the day can turn what feels like a mere job into something far greater.
As for me, I’d love to tell you that since landing my job I’ve had one of these very specific prods from God that’s led me to change course. Actually, I’m still in the same industry that I joined after graduation. What’s changed is that I believe that God has called me to be a Christian in every part of my life, here and now, including my current employment. And if He wants to get more specific in future, then that’s not the beginning of my ‘calling’. It’s the next chapter in what He’s already doing in my life.
This article comes from our series on workplace myths. You can read the other pieces here.
Image by dcubillas via stock.xchng images.