My Devotionals

Subscribe

Job, Career, or Calling

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:22-24)

Last week, we saw how Scripture instructs us to honor and respect our employers, even when we hate our jobs. One of the ways we do that is by obeying the biblical command to work hard and with excellence. In Colossians 3:23, Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Here, Paul is reminding us that even when we are dissatisfied with our jobs, bosses, or employers, we are to work with everything we’ve got. Why? Because ultimately, we aren’t working for our “human...

Continue Reading...

Bad Bosses

Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. (1 Timothy 6:1)

The dominant wisdom the world offers people who don’t love our jobs is to simply quit and move on to a better opportunity. As we will see later in this devotional series, changing your job is a biblical response to work you don’t love, but it is far from the only God-honoring course of action. But regardless of whether you stay or leave your current position, all Christians should be troubled by the tone in which worldly career gurus encourage us to quit our jobs. The overriding tone of this advice has a very “stick it to the man” ring to it. By casting bad bosses and unhealthy corporate cultures as the villains, many talking heads would have you believe that you are doing a heroic thing by disrespecting your employer before, during, and after your departure from the...

Continue Reading...

New Series: What to Do When You Don’t Love Your Job

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

When you’re in a job you don’t love, it can be easy to forget that work was a part of God’s perfect design for us. As Genesis 1 and 2 make clear, work existed prior to sin, with God inviting Adam and Eve to co-create with Him, “filling the earth” with the work of their hands. But as soon as sin entered the picture, work became difficult and painful—a reality we still experience today.

According to a 2017...

Continue Reading...

Paul’s Model for Our Work

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-9)

In Acts 18:1-3, we are given a front-row seat to the third and final reason why Paul appears to have chosen to work as a tentmaker: so that he could effectively disciple other Christians. In these verses, we are told that, upon arriving in Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila, “and because [Paul] was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them”...

Continue Reading...

Where Christ is Not Known

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Romans 15:20)

As we have been exploring throughout this devotional series, Paul chose to work as a tentmaker in conjunction with his preaching ministry for some very deliberate reasons. Last week, we saw that Paul worked in the marketplace as a means of “becoming all things to all people” and “winning the respect of outsiders.” But why was Paul so eager to win the respect of the lost? In Romans 15:20, Paul alludes to the answer, saying, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known.” Paul worked as a tentmaker to become all things to all people so that he might increase his opportunities to preach the gospel to those who had yet to hear it.

Paul’s work as a tentmaker would have allowed him to preach the gospel in two powerful ways: through his actions and his...

Continue Reading...

How Paul won “the respect of outsiders”

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

After spending the first twenty-one verses of 1 Corinthians 9 defending his right to raise financial support to preach the gospel, Paul gives us the clearest explanation as to why he chose to continue to work as a tentmaker. In verses 22 and 23 he writes, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.”

Paul understood that, in order for the gospel to be heard, followers of Christ must first be able to relate to those we are ministering to. And there is perhaps no more effective place to do this than in the workplace where we spend the majority of our waking hours and have a natural environment for building genuine relationships with...

Continue Reading...

New Series: Paul and the Call to Create

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:20-23)

The apostle Paul is one of the great heroes of the Christian faith—the man the risen Christ chose to help spread the gospel and accelerate the growth of Christianity throughout the world. While Paul’s work as an effective preacher is well-known, what the Church almost never talks about is the fact that throughout his career planting and preaching to churches, Paul also worked as a...

Continue Reading...

Lie #3: Your happiness is the primary purpose of work

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

I’ve saved the most pervasive and deeply entrenched lie about work and calling for the last week of this series. For decades, well-intentioned Christ-followers have been doling out a piece of career advice which seems loving on the surface, but in reality, is actually quite dangerous. The advice goes something like this: “Do whatever makes you happy. Follow your passions. Chase your dreams.”

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, author and scientist Cal Newport summarizes this advice as “the passion hypothesis” in which we are told that...

Continue Reading...

Lie #2: You can do everything you want to do

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

When we adopt the lie that we can be anything we want to be (which we looked to Scripture to refute last week), it can be easy to fall for the tangential lie that we can do everything we want to do, ignoring the laws of time and trade-offs.

In his excellent book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown explains that “The idea that we can have it all and do it all is not new. This myth has been peddled for so long, I believe virtually everyone alive today is infected with it….What is new is how especially damaging this myth is today, in a time when choice and expectations have increased exponentially.”

The truth is, we can’t do everything we want to do at once, so long as we accept that God has called us to excellence in all things. I’m reminded of this every time I pull up a menu for a restaurant that offers...

Continue Reading...

New Series: 3 Lies of Work and Calling

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8)

Today, we will challenge the deeply entrenched lie that “you can be anything you want to be.” As many modern cultures suggest, if you work hard enough and believe in yourself, you can do anything you want to in your career. We love to believe this lie for some good reasons. For one, it gives us the courage to step out and take risks as we seek to discern our calling. This can be a good thing! But it...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Join 100,000+ Christians who receive my weekly devotional every Monday morning!