Reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.
Part seven of a series.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10
This is the final of seven devotions dealing with some false stories about work which we might hear about, or even unconsciously absorb; as well as the better story for work that we read in the Bible, and is commended through the gospel.
We have already done false story 1. My focus is on my leisure time, not work; 2. Work is my source of meaning and purpose; 3. Religion or faith should not be in the workplace; 4. Work is a curse; 5. Work is just about earning money and 6. Work is all about me, my drive, my ambition, my success. Today we are looking at false ideas around calling: I have to find my own vocation.
What is the first question we ask human beings? One of the first is: what do you want to be when you grow up? My son was three when he was asked that. He answered, “A bee”! He went on to want to be Timmy the Dog and Harry Potter, until he worked out people were talking about a job!
A popular meme is “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work another day of your life.” That is a big promise!
The lie in this is multi-faceted: It suggests that there is one dream job out there, that it is up to me to find it, and that work is all about me. All those things are false. There are many different sorts of work you could and will do. Vocation is about responding to a calling from someone, not about us finding something. Our work is never usually about us, individually. It always involves other people; and the most fulfilling work serves others.
The reading from Ephesians tells a better story for our work. We are uniquely gifted to do good work, and there is a possibility that elements of that work will echo into eternity. Moreover, God has chosen the work we should do, gifted us for it, and planned all this out before we were born.
Or as The Message version puts it: “[God] creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”
Think It Through
- To what degree do you see this false story lived out around you? Do you sometimes live out that false story in your own life?
- Describe the difference it makes knowing that God has already prepared you for good work, which he has already prepared for you to do? How is God calling you to that work right now?
You see us and know us. You know all that we will say and do before we have said it or done it.
You know the work that you have prepared for us to do.
You have also prepared us for the work we are to do.
We admit that we wish we knew clearly what you want us to do.
We also know that finding our vocation is part of the journey of faith, involving trust and small steps of obedience.
Recall for us the important skills and experience you want us to use.
Give us insight to our gifts and passions.
Make our hearts burn for the need that you want us to meet.
Grant us a sense of peace when we discover the vocation you have placed in our hearts.
Kara Martin is the author of Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God, and Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work. She is also a lecturer with Mary Andrews College. Kara has worked in media and communications, human resources, business analysis and policy development roles, in a variety of organizations, and as a consultant. Kara has a particular passion for integrating our Christian faith and work, and helping churches connect with the workers in their congregations. She is currently conducting research on how to effectively equip workplace Christians to integrate their faith and work.