When you look at this cartoon image, does it describe how you feel when the weekend is over and you have to go back to work on Monday? For many Christians this is how we view work. But that is not how God wants us to view work.
I believe that everyone wants their children to be successful in life. Most parents believe that a key to their children being successful is getting a good education so that they can get a good job. A great deal of energy is put into making sure that children and youth know the right information so that they can get into a good college. Parents are convinced that getting a good college education is the key to getting a good job and, therefore, being successful.
At the same time, Christians say that God has a plan for every person and the best place to be is in the center of God’s will. Unfortunately, there is a deep divide in many Christians’ minds between being in God’s will and getting a good job. Christians seldom look at education as the process through which their children will discover God’s will for their lives which will, in turn, lead them to finding a vocation in life. Yet, that is exactly what one of the key goals of education should be — education must guide people in knowing and doing God’s will. In discussing this goal of education, I will equate God’s call with God’s will. Anything that God calls an individual to do must be God’s will for that person.
There are two calls that God puts on a person’s life. The first call is a general call to salvation. God desires for all people to be saved. The second call that God places on a life is specific to the individual. This call is a call to vocation or work. A call to work must be seen as a divine call. This is because God is portrayed throughout the Bible as a God that “works.” We have all read the account of the creation of this universe in Genesis 1. This marvelous creation is the “work” of God. In fact, after God “worked” to create this world in a mere six days, He rested from all His “work.” God is a God who works. Since man is created in God’s image, it means that man has been created to work. Education should guide children and youth to find God’s call to a vocation in life.
Timothy Keller has written an excellent book that deals with this call to vocation titled, Every Good Endeavor. In this book, Keller explains,
We must recover the idea that work is a “vocation” or calling, “a contribution to the good of all and not merely…a means to one’s own advancement.”…To one’s self-fulfillment and power. Something can be a vocation or calling only if some other party calls you to do it, and you do it for their sake rather than your own. Our daily work can be a calling only if its reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others.Work has gone through a progression, or more accurately a regression, of meaning. When our Founding Fathers established this country, work was seen as a vocation, a calling from God. As time passed, work became a job one had that God was asked to bless. Then work became a job to pay the bills. Today, someone has said that work is the ability to consume! This regression in how we look at work is due to a flawed education system that is not focused on guiding students to knowing and doing God’s will.
Kevin Swanson provides us with keen insight related to this educational goal. In his book, Upgrade, he writes,
A successful education is achieved when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents & abilities in the accomplishment of the child’s calling…Everybody is gifted and has a purpose in God’s world…Each child has a specific calling, framed by his unique talents and abilities.
My friend, Pastor James McMenis, consistently reminds his church’s membership that every person is a purpose with a name. This statement is grounded in the fact that God has a plan for every person that is born. Since this is true, education must aim at guiding students to understanding their God-given talents and abilities so that they can know God’s purpose for their lives. This goal of education must be central to every educational effort a child experiences at home, church and school. Consider this profound statement.
The challenge of the first eighteen years of a child’s education is to find that calling [God’s will]…A fulfilled life will be determined by whether he/she has centered in upon his or her life calling. Kevin Swanson
Christians must answer some key questions if they are going to give their children an education that will result in them equipped to glorify God in all of life.
- How is the education that your children/students are receiving at home, church and school helping them to understand their God-given abilities and talents?
- Does the education children are receiving at home, church and school help them to hear God’s call on their lives to be saved?
- Are your children/students on a path to finding God’s call on their lives to a vocation for which God has created them to fulfill?