News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: Choosing a career the biblical way

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–What are you going to be when you grow up?

We are all familiar with that question. Remember when one of your aunts or uncles asked you? Hopefully, it was when you were a young person and not an adult.

Everyone needs a model to follow, and it’s never too late to teach our children about the biblical principles of work and stewardship of talents. And, apparently, it’s also never too early to plan for a career. Consider the fact that modern-day public schools often force teens to make key education and career decisions at increasingly earlier ages — sometimes as early as sixth or seventh grade.

But is that the best way to make a career decision? Are our youth learning a biblical model for education and career decision-making, or is it a method based on the convenience of the education system?

If someone asked you how to solve career issues from a biblical perspective, could you do so? Unfortunately, many of us would have no idea where to start — no clear process has ever been taught to most of us at home, at school or in the church. What are the steps you can follow to discover how God has designed you and what His calling is for your life? And, just what is the spiritual nature of work?

For the Christian, there are always two viewpoints from which to choose — the world’s view and God’s view.

— The world’s perspective

According to a report from careerbuilder.com, in 2003 nearly one in four workers were dissatisfied with their jobs. That represented a 20 percent increase over the survey they had taken just two years earlier. In addition, 60 percent of those surveyed said they planned to leave their job for other pursuits in the next two years.

Another study indicated that half of those working in the information technology field said they would rather be doing something in the liberal arts.

There is no evidence that those statistics have improved. So that means there were a lot of men and women who went to work this morning feeling they’re in the wrong professional field or occupation. They don’t just feel that they’d like a different boss — they think they are in the wrong career altogether.

These statistics merely reflect the fact that, generally, people base their career decision-making on faulty foundations — the world’s perspective of determining a career. Some of these viewpoints include choosing a job because of the amount of money it pays. Or maybe it’s the first or easiest job that’s offered, and maybe friends work for the company. Perhaps the job sounds good or has a good title, or a parent had that job. Or, perhaps it would fulfill a parent’s unfulfilled dreams.

Do any of these career choice strategies sound familiar? Unfortunately, they are all too common and the results are always the same — stress, unhappiness, unfulfilled expectations and eventual burnout.

— The biblical perspective.

At Crown Financial Ministries, our mission is to share with you the good news that you don’t have to operate under the world’s perspective in any matter — including work. As Christians, we should understand that God has ordained each of us to fill a special role in His service. We have a calling, which He has prepared for us in advance, and for which He has uniquely designed each of us. And it is through this God-directed work that we are able to serve others, honor Him, impact the world around us, and win others to Him.

It’s never too soon to begin career-planning, and it’s certainly never too late to teach our children about the biblical principles of work and stewardship of talents. Everyone needs a model to follow. The question is will it be God’s the world’s?

Our youth need to be brought up and instilled with the realization that they are uniquely created by God and need to look prayerfully to Him for what His will is for their lives. In the final analysis, it makes little difference whether they become doctors, business owners, editors, custodians, teachers, lawyers, public servants or preachers. What matters is whether they are following God’s will for their lives.
Howard Dayton is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the Web at www.crown.org.

    About the Author

  • Howard Dayton