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FIRST-PERSON: The best career plan

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–Apparently it’s never too early to plan for a career, considering the fact that our modern-day public schools often are forcing teens to make key education and career decisions at increasingly earlier ages — sometimes as early as 6th or 7th grade.

A recent news program reported that an online poll conducted by Scholastic magazine says more than 80 percent of our children do not want to be president of the United States. That’s a complete reversal from 2004, when 75 percent of the elementary and middle school children wanted to be the head man or woman in the White House.

There are a lot of folks asking our kids questions about their future, but are our youth learning a biblical model for education and career decision making? Unfortunately, most of us would have no idea where to start to help a child solve career issues from a biblical perspective, because no clear process has ever been taught to us at home, at school or in the church.

However, there are some steps you can follow to discover how God has designed you, what His calling is for your life, and what is the spiritual nature of work. Then, knowing this, perhaps you can help others as well.

One study said that half of the men and women who went to work this morning feel they are in the wrong career field. It’s not just that they think they would like a different job, but they feel they are in the wrong career altogether. Another study indicated that 52 percent of those working in the information technology field said they would rather be doing something in the area of liberal arts.

These statistics reflect the fact that people make career decisions based on faulty foundations. They use the world’s perspective for career choice. These include choosing a job because: it pays so much; it’s the first or easiest you can get; it’s offered to you; you have friends who work for the company; you’ve done that kind of job before; the job sounds good or has a good title; your parents do or did that job; or — perhaps worst of all — it will fulfill your parents’ unfulfilled dreams.

Do any of these sound familiar? Unfortunately, they are all too common, and the results are always the same — stress, lack of fulfillment and eventual burnout.

However, there is good news. There is a biblical perspective of work and career, so you don’t have to operate under the world’s perspective of work. As Christians, we should understand that God has ordained each of us to fill a special role in His service. Every Christian has a calling, which God has prepared for us in advance. Each of us has been uniquely designed by God, and through the work He calls us to, we can serve others, honor Him, impact the world around us, and win others to Him.

It’s never too late to teach your children about the biblical principles of work and stewardship of talents. Everyone needs a model to follow. The question is this: Will your children be influenced by God’s direction or the world’s perspective?

Our youth need to be brought up 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. It makes no difference whether they become doctors, custodians, lawyers, preachers — or president. 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.

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  • Howard Dayton