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Job or Vocation?

When you are trying to build your career or find a job, what do you do? We often go on a LinkedIn to first see what kind of jobs are out there in the marketplace, and based on that information we choose jobs that tailor to our best interests. What does the bible say about choosing our careers?

In Genesis 2:5, we see the first job opening in the earth. It says, "There was no man to work the ground." God created the earth, but there was nobody to take care of it. God needed someone to apply for this task.

Then in Genesis 2:15, we read "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it." Pastor Tom Nelson, in his book Work Matters, says:

"The Lord God takes the initiative and places humankind in the garden of Eden with a particular task in mind. The emphasis here is not about a personal choice but rather divine initiative and divine calling. Already in Genesis we see that vocation is not something we ultimately choose for ourselves; it is something to which God calls us."

Throughout the Bible, we can see that this is true for all of God's faithful servants. God called Abraham to go to the land of Canaan so that he will be a blessing to the many nations. God called Joseph to Egypt so that he will be trained one day to be the Prime Minister of the Land to save the lives of people. God called Moses to the position of leadership to lead Exodus.

In fact, the English word, "vocation," comes from Latin word, "vocare," which means "to call." For Christians, we do not choose our careers. It is God who calls us to the various positions in the world, so that God may use us to bless and serve His world.

When God first called me to work as a building manager in my current company, for the half of the year, I had no idea what I was doing and why I was there. I complained my work was very insignificant. But, my wife persuaded me to stay, because she believed God called me there. Later in the year I knew why God called me there, as I met many tenants who came from difficult and broken pasts. God wanted me to serve them as their building manager, and as their friends with the love of gospel.

For Christians, we do not choose our career but God does. How do we interpret God's calling in our lives? Well, God's calling is never about us, but always about serving others. Joseph served God and the people by saving Egyptians from the time of famine. God used Daniel and his friends to minister to the King of Babylon. God used Nehemiah as a cup-bearer to re-build the wall of Jerusalem. God's calling is never about us, but about him, and his world.

So, if you are looking for a dream job and a dream career, listen to God and hear where he is calling you to go. Just as God needed the gardener in Genesis 2, God needs you and the world needs you. God knows where you are needed the most, so listen to his call and respond to his call with "Yes."

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