Dear Friends,

The man we now know of as “St Paul” used to be a prejudiced and religious zealot who desired to beat people and jail them because they were undermining his Jewish faith. John Newton was a brutal slave trader. Charles Colson was president Richard Nixon’s “pit bull” who went to jail for his actions. I could multiply examples. All three became Christians. All three had to leave their careers and jobs behind after their conversion.

Last week in this blog I wrote of how every follower of Jesus has a “vocation” – not just pastors and missionaries. This does not mean that we can never change jobs or seek to improve our situation or seek promotions. On one hand, it is not a sin to be low income. On the other hand, it is not God’s will that all of His people be low income. We can seek to improve our situation or get a promotion or grow our business. We need to seek God’s will for our lives and walk in His will, according to His will and for His glory. Whether we own our own business, work in private enterprise or the government or are out of the paid labour force; we are to do well where we are. In our vocation we are to: work well, use our time well, make a godly difference, pray for the staff (or neighbours), pray for the flourishing of the business (whether government or private) that we work in, bear witness to Jesus and seek the prosperity of our community to the glory of God.

As we seek God’s will and as we work or study, sometimes we will change the direction of our lives. I was going to be an engineer, but my interests changed after my conversion. There is nothing wrong with being an engineer; it just was not what I felt God was calling me to do.

People come to faith in Jesus out of all sorts of jobs and life-styles. Some of these jobs are not jobs the God will ever give as a vocation. That will mean that sometime after our conversion, we will have to begin the (possibly) painful and risky path of getting out of one job and finding some other way to make a living. I know of a man who had to leave the company he worked for because they were so manipulative and unethical in how they treated their tenants. As a building manager he had a noble job, but his particular company meant he had to leave. In some cases, the job itself is the problem. Dr Bernard Nathanson was the co-founder of the (US) National Abortion Rights Action League. As an abortion provider, he presided over 60,000 abortions. Then he became a Christian. He came to realize that he had to walk away from his livelihood and career. Some jobs are inherently incompatible with following Jesus.

We as a church need to pray for each other that we seek God’s will in our “private” life. We need to be patient with people as they come to the
realization that they need to change their jobs or careers for ethical reasons. We need to find ways to provide practical support and help in these transitions. We need to pray that we will be “in the world” but not “of the world”. Pray that we will be disciples of Jesus gripped by the Gospel living for God’s glory.