Friday, September 10, 2010

Career vs Calling

Jon has been reading the book The Hole in our Gospel for the last few weeks, and he has shared some of the striking quotes and concepts that Richard Stearns presents in the text. Stearns’ story is actually quite amazing—he was a very successful business man, but left all of the prestige and luxury that came along with that when he began to feel a calling from God to minister to the children of the world. He went to work with World Vision and he and his family have been making an impact in the name of Jesus since then.

One of the things Jon read to me was this:

American society does not talk much about ‘calling’ anymore. It is more likely to think in terms of career. Yet for many people a career becomes the altar on which they sacrifice their lives.
A calling, which is something I do for God, is replaced by a career, which threatens to become my god.
A career is something I choose for myself; a calling is something I receive.
A career is something I do for myself; a calling is something I do for God.
A career promises status, money or power; a calling generally promises difficulty and even some suffering—and the opportunity to be used by God.

For many years, Jon and I have focused mainly on career. Well, really we have focused on money. Everything we did seemed to be focused on our financial situation, no matter how fast it seemed we made our wheels spin. We have found ourselves drowning in student loan debt and credit card debt, which became an even bigger ‘god’ in our lives when Jon would lose jobs or be laid off. Even when he is working full-time or extra-full-time, there just seemed to be no satisfaction or joy in the work he spent almost all of his waking hours doing.

The rat race of Jon going into a job that has no eternal worth or value, being gone from our family for 8-15 hours a day and being exhausted and drained had really stated to wear on our family. It seems a little crazy, then, when we say that we are leaving that behind for something that may be even a little bit tougher?

Being in another country will for sure bring its challenges. The distance from our loved ones, the culture adaptations and the language barriers will definitely add to the list of challenges that being a godly family already brings. However, we really believe that God is calling us to this work, so as faithful servants we must answer his call. We trust that his divine power will give us everything we need for life and godliness and that when he works through us he is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, and if we commit our plans to the Lord they will succeed. That’s only a few of the promises we are leaning on, there are so many more!

Following a calling, I believe, doesn’t really have much to do with our status here on Earth. I am pretty sure that we will never be financially ‘rich’. We are never going to have the nicest things or the fastest cars. It’s not about that. I have heard, though, that up in heaven there is a 'bank' where we can store up treasures, and that is where we are choosing to make our deposits!

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