Last week I commented on a Tweet that I read about trusting the process. This week I am following up on this by referring to another article that I read the same day on my Twitter account. This article was about a college graduate who did not pursue a career in aerospace engineering. Instead he moved to China to teach English and has just completed 10 years of teaching. I encourage you to click here and read this article.
After reading the article, I tweeted,
Are we educating our children to pursue a career or to discover God’s calling on their lives?
I believe that this an extremely important question that every Christian parent, church leader and educator must consider. How one answers this question will be the driving motivation behind how we educate the next generation. From the time that I entered Christian education back in 1973 I was told that calling came before career. I still believe this to be true today. It is my conviction that if a person knows Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, has developed godly character and can think and act from a biblical worldview, that person is prepared not only for this life but also for eternity.
However, the focus of education today is more on career than it is on calling. In our striving for “academic excellence”, we have had the tendency to measure our success by how well our children do in their careers – what kinds of jobs do they have, what type of homes do they live in, how much do they make and/or have in their 401k. There is little, if any, in trying to guide our students in discerning God’s call on their lives. I find this ironic because Christians are always talking about how God has a purpose and a plan for every believer. Jeremiah 29:11 is quoted so much that most of us know it by memory.
I need to clarify something at this point. After reading the article referenced above and what I have just written, you might be thinking that every child needs to be involved in “full-time” ministry or else we have failed to educate them properly. That is not the point of this post. It is not a matter of whether a person becomes a pastor, a missionary or a Christian teacher that determines how we are answering the question that I tweeted above. It is how we view work that is important.
Too often I come across Christians who have jobs that they go to every day because they are necessary to pay their bills. Most of these people do not like their jobs but simply view them as a necessary evil in order to survive life. In fact, to many people, including far too many Christians, work is considered to be a four-letter word. This concept is re-enforced by such phrases as:
- Tuesday means we’re a day closer to a weekend spent dreading Monday.
- It’s “hump day”.
- Having Monday off is a great reason to hate Tuesday.
- There aren’t enough days in a weekend.
- Better days are coming – they’re called Saturday and Sunday.
God never intended for “work” to be looked at in this way. In Genesis 1:28 God gives man the commission to subdue and rule over His creation. Man is the only created being that has the privilege to perform work as an act of worship to God. Our work is a means by which we get to glorify God as we fulfill our stewardship responsibilities here on earth. This should be the goal of the entire educational process. Kevin Swanson says it well:
A successful education is achieved when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents and abilities in accomplishment of the child’s calling…Education prepares a child for a glorious and infinitely meaningful purpose of living life to God’s glory in this life and eternity.
It is not easy to try and discern where we are when it comes to career versus calling. However, it is something we cannot afford to overlook. What we think to be most important in life will end up driving how we educate our children. Choosing the wrong motivation can be catastrophic. I trust this will help you understand how important it is that calling and work are one and the same. Watch this to catch the vision.
My good friend, Christian Overman, has dedicated much of his life in helping Christians getting back to developing a biblical theology of work. I encourage you to go to his website, biblicalworldview.com, and find resources that will help you understand this missing concept in Christianity today.