There are so many choices and opportunities when it comes to a career. It seems that “calling” is required to be a pastor or missionary, but not necessarily for a businessman, fireman, teacher, lawyer, doctor, etc.
Let my experience provide some deeper insight: As a teenager, I felt a “call” on my life and the best way I could interpret it at the time was to become a pastor. My response was to attend Bible College and I recall during my first year having my Bible open to 2 Timothy 4 and I read daily, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season … endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” I entered full time ministry in 1986 and felt like I was living out the sacred call on my life. Just 3 years later, I was invited to be youth pastor in a church, but never had the opportunity to do so since that church split! This was a major crisis for me (maybe the part of my call to endure hardship), which eventually led to my accepting a job selling life insurance (a secular work). My passion was to continue serving in church ministry but I needed an income, so the job provided financially. I continued volunteering in church ministry which led people to draw a comparison to Paul making tents while his “calling” was to declare the gospel.
In my last blog I stated, “The mistake we often make is in categorizing our work as secular, separating it from the sacred, rather than sensing the pleasure of God in our work.”
My perspective was that my work as a financial advisor was not necessarily a “calling” but just a job (secular), while my “calling” as pastor was my true work (sacred). Can you sense the inner turmoil I was feeling? Had I missed my “calling” or was it possible that I could actually live it out by being a financial advisor? Did I have the wrong perspective to start with? Should I have even separated the two – the sacred and the secular?
Reflecting back on the 2 Timothy 4 reference, as a financial advisor, I certainly felt “out of season” when it came to being able to “preach the word.” However, another translation (HCSB) instructs “proclaim the message” which sheds a different light on that phrase. The reality is I had many opportunities in my secular work to fulfill the sacred call. The “proclaiming” was different than I ever thought it would be because life was not the way I had planned it.
One client later confirmed, “You have more of a ministry here in this office (as a financial advisor) than you could ever have in a pulpit (as a pastor).” This helped me realize that the calling I felt was not limited to a particular role that I would have in life.
So whether I do the work of a pastor, financial advisor, director, bus driver, or teacher, you get the picture, the important thing is to be a good steward and be true to that call.
The right perspective: Your secular work is definitely connected to your calling and becomes the perfect opportunity to “fulfill your ministry!”
Have you made the mistake of separating the secular from the sacred? Are you fulfilling the uniqueness of your calling?