My Dad used to say, “I have never seen a house I would rather live in, or a job I would rather have”. His semi-detached, basic, Board of Agriculture house on Oliver’s Brae was the ideal, specially suited for him and his family. His job as a docker at the harbour in Stornoway was the best for him. He believed in the providence of God and discovered that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1Tim.6:6). There were many detached, big and beautiful houses in the Island, yet he felt no desire for them. There were occupations which were much better paid, but he was not interested. God had placed him where he was and he rejoiced in God’s provision. He was sure that “all things worked together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28).
Abide in your calling
Paul, in addressing the Corinthians on the subject of marriage and work, stated: “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called” (1Cor.7:20). Someone is converted but their husband or wife is not. Do not leave your spouse. Who knows you may be the means of their conversion. If you are born again as a slave do not worry about it. You are the Lord’s freeman. If you are set free, use your freedom for the Lord. If you are called being free you are the Lord’s slave. “Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God” (v24). Be content with your work and recognise there is a dignity in every job. Of course some may find themselves in immoral work. These have to give up their occupation. But the rest of us should recognise God’s hand placing us in certain jobs. Be content. This does not hinder us changing jobs but we should always try to make sure that we are where God wants us to be.
God calls ministers
Some assert that God’s call is the same no matter what the occupation to which we are called. Scripture does however give a special place to the call of ministers. “How shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom.10:15). There is no higher calling than the ministry, not even that of president of the USA. Also God appoints ministers to certain charges. When their work there is done he calls them to a new situation. Ministers should never be discontented with their parish. It is the best for you. When God wants you out of it he will open the door and stir you up to move on. Others may have larger congregations and appear to have more success but God has a specific job for you to do and no one else can do it but you.
What happens when we make mistakes?
Out of hastiness or the wrong motives a person could find himself in a job where he knows he should not be and he is being chastised for selfishness or pride or some other sin. What should he do? There is no need for despair. Repent, ask for forgiveness, trust in Christ and seek to rededicate yourself to God. Then continue in your calling looking to the Lord to guide you with regard to your future. For example, a minister may move to a congregation out of ambition or to escape difficulties in another. Repent and return to God. Look to the Lord in faith. Realise that all things work together for good, even our mistakes. God wants us to be content where we are and when it is His will to move us He will open the door. He overrules our mistakes when we repent. His chastisement will not destroy us.
A little with God’s blessing
Some people have lots of money and great prestige but it is far better to have God’s blessing than all the success this world can offer. “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (Ps.37:16). There is dignity in work. Before sin entered the world, in the paradise of Eden, Adam was a gardener. Interestingly he was not an accountant or a lawyer or a media mogul but a humble gardener. In our work we should be able to express our love to God and to our fellow man.
Six days shalt thou labour
Even in the Garden of Eden, God said, “Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work: but the seventh is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work”. God kept the first Sabbath and rested after He had completed the work of creation in the six days. God was setting a pattern for man to follow. The day of rest is vital for the body, the mind and the soul. But notice that the commandment does not just refer to one day. It also speaks of the six days. They are to be spent in labouring. Six days of work are a duty as well as the one day of rest. Nowadays there is far too much emphasis on leisure. People speak of a five day week as if it were appointed by God. Of course in the type of employment that most have, a sixth day is required for jobs around the house.
“Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb.13:5). “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1Tim.6:6). Be happy with the Lord’s provision for you. Believe that God is sovereign and overrules all for your good. He has a plan for your life and it is the best. Accept the present while you wait to discover the outworking of God’s plans. We are sometimes impatient, but God is never late. At exactly the right time things happen. When you feel you are sinking remember the words of Christ: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Mt.14:31). What wonderful assurance we are given: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28).