By Renee Tan; reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.
The workplace is often a source of stress, challenge and temptation for Christian workers. But seeking paid employment can also train us to be more like Christ. My recent job-hunting adventures have helped me see God’s faithfulness despite the weakness of my own faith in Him. In pitching myself to prospective employers, I have also come face-to-face with questions of worth, security and identity. Who am I if I am unemployed? How do I see myself when someone says I’m not good enough?
And God, in his faithfulness, has grown me in at least three ways whenever I fire up my laptop to refine my resumé:
Contentment amidst Competition
Desirable jobs are often difficult to land. Regardless of the supply-demand ratio, most employers require applicants to go through an (often strenuous) recruitment process. I have found that my contentment is often tested whilst looking for a new gig. As I scroll through Seek.com, I find myself visualizing how much more satisfactory life can be with that new promotion or pay rise. However, before I go too far God, catches me and reminds me that in Christ, I already have every good gift to do his will (Hebrews 13:20-21).
I know this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t aspire to do bigger things. But it should mean that I do those same things that everyone does (practicing interview questions, attending assessment centers and so on) with a completely different motivation. I should be doing them out of love for God and people (Matthew 22:37-39).
If I can think like that, my sense of security will remain intact, regardless of the stiffness of competition around me. It will mean that I won’t see the outcome of a particular job application as an authoritative pronouncement on my worth. It will mean I can let go of opportunities if they threaten my walk with Christ.
In Christ, we are free from the strife of outshining others, and we can pray for and congratulate those who succeed when we don’t. I cannot help but thank God for such a liberation, which stands in stark contrast to the often-unforgiving treatment dished out by the working world.
Joy amidst Rejection
No one in the Christian life is expected to be happy in the face of rejection emails: God isn’t training his people up for happiness. Instead, He is training us up for joy. Joy is deep-rooted and exists regardless of circumstances. Being joyful could look like being in tears first, but it always returns to trust in and obedience to God. The hope for the Christian is that regardless of the opinion of man, God is still in favor of you. This is true even if your prospective employer thinks you’re underqualified, close-minded or not a team player.
The Christian can train him or herself up in joy by giving thanks to God especially in the face of their own rejection. There are so many things we can rejoice over, including:
- The other physical blessings we have because of God’s common grace to us (Acts 14:17);
- Every spiritual blessing that we have because of Christ (Ephesians 1:3);
- The success of others, especially for fellow Christians;
- That God’s love and acceptance of you is unconditional because of Christ (Ephesians 1:4-5);
- That God doesn’t measure your worth the way the world does.
May we commit to giving God due praise for every other good thing He has showered over us, regardless of the immediate rejection in front of us.
Peace amidst Uncertainty
The job-hunting process is often long and uncertain. To make matters worse, other parts of our lives seem to be put on hold as life decisions are difficult to make when we do not know what type of opportunities will land in front of us. Amid this arduous process, God promises us His peace (John 14:27). His peace doesn’t necessarily eliminate all the real stresses associated with financial instability. It doesn’t even necessarily make circumstances feel any easier. However, his peace brings a reminder that He is in sovereign control, and He dictates our path (Proverbs 16:9). We persevere knowing that He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We toil whilst also trusting in Him.
We ought to be thankful that God in his kindness uses all circumstances to train his people up in godliness. A work lifespan of 30-40 years, and the tendency to weave between jobs and careers, gives us plenty of opportunities to grow in our faith. There may be seasons where be times we fail to steward our responsibilities faithfully; and seasons where we lose sight of the beauty of Christ for the trashy counterparts in the world. However, my encouragement is that God often teaches us profound truths of Christ when the rubber meets the road. Regardless of our job titles or career prospects, may we continue to rest our souls in Jesus and what He has achieved for us on the cross. May we work to remind each other that in God’s sight, our worth is in Christ, which remains precious in the face of both failures and successes.