Most people reading this post probably either have a job or have had one, and that means you can relate to this article’s list of “5 Career Myths That Could Be Holding You Back”. (It’s interesting reading even for those who are not concerned with career issues right now.) They may not have meant it this way, in fact I’m positive they didn’t, but each of the myths that I am reproducing here apply to our spiritual lives as well.
“Myth 1: There is one perfect job for you out there, and you better hope you find it.”
Here’s one that comes up all the time for Christians, because many believers are under the mistaken notion that there is the one right job, or the one right spouse, or the one right house, or the one right fill-in-the-blank. You know what? There’s not.
It reminds me of a story a speaker told at a conference I attended. He once had someone ask him to help discern which job offer God wanted him to accept, and the speaker said it was as if the guy thought God would answer, “Well Chicago’s fine, I can make it to Chicago, but don’t pick Omaha because that’s just too far for me to go with you!”
If you want a handle on God’s will for your life, I’ll let you in on it:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.)
There are other verses like this and none of them have anything to do with making a decision about something specific in your life, so don’t get caught up in thinking that if you choose one thing over another it means you are out of his perfect will forever.
God’s perfect will is about Christ living in you, not you living in Chicago.
“Myth 2: Once you’re settled in a career path, you’re stuck.”
Let’s say you do pick that job in Omaha and find out it’s really not a good place to be. (I’m sure Omaha is very nice. This is just an illustration, folks.) Then you’ll probably start looking for a job elsewhere. Fine.
Same thing goes with making decisions in your life with God. Are you in a ministry serving somewhere that has turned out not to be so good? Are you now saying “I thought helping in the nursery was going to be great, reading stories and rocking babies to sleep. But poopy diapers make me puke. Literally!”
You’re not stuck. There’s plenty to do in God’s kingdom, so find something else.
“Myth 3: You should choose your job based on the skills you have.”
In ministry, there are times we need to know our limitations. If there’s a bulletin announcement about the music team needing a guitarist and you’ve never strummed a chord in your life, perhaps that’s not the role for you. But God overcomes limitations all the time.
Look at Moses. He thought he was unqualified to lead God’s people out of Egypt, but God had news for him. It was God who was going to do the leading, and Moses needed to be ready for God to use him when it happened.
You may find that serving in the kingdom of God has nothing to do with using the skills you have, and everything to do with the fact that God is using you anyway.
“Myth 4: Do what you love, and the money will follow.”
In ministry terms, this would equate to seeing success in your ministry. But God doesn’t promise that we will see what comes from our kingdom work. He does promise, though, that as we abide in Jesus we will bear the fruit he desires to produce through us. (John 15.)
What does it mean, then, to do what we love? It means to love Christ, abiding in him and trusting that his fruit will follow whether we see it or not.
“Myth 5: If you want to make a lot of money, get your MBA.”
Many well-meaning fellow Christians (and some not-so-well-meaning ones too) will insist that if you read this book, or watch that video, or attend some particular seminar, then you can’t help but have a successful ministry. Well, you know who was well-equipped?
Paul. He studied under Gamaliel, one of the premiere thinkers in first century Judaism. Then he was mentored by Barnabas, one of the most effective workers in the early church. Then he had years of ministry experience to build upon.
And toward the end of his life, he found that all of this was nothing compared to the one thing he knew was really important: Christ.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. (Philippians 3:7-8.)
Questions to ponder:
Are there ministry myths you cling to? Why?
Have they hindered your work in God’s kingdom? How?