Friday, May 3, 2013

Making the Match: Career Choice

Lee Hardy, "Making the Match: Career Choice" In Leading Lives that Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be edited by Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy C. Bass. Eerdmans, 2006.

Hardy asks the question, "How exactly does the Christian concept of work as a divine calling bear upon the problem of choosing a vocation?" Hardy seeks to answer this question in this excerpt from his book, The Fabric of the World. He asserts that Christians are commanded and called "to love and serve our neighbors with the gifts that God has given us" (91). First Peter 4:10 says, "Each one of us should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." Like Schuurman Hardy believes that the providence of God can help us discover our calling and callings in life. Hardy too asserts that our vocation is larger than our paid occupation.

The protestant Reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth century made the "initial attempt to formulate the principles of vocational choice." To the reformers "work is the social place where people can exercise the gifts God has given them in the service of others. For God did not create us as self-sufficient individuals. We all have needs which we alone cannot meet. Be necessity we live in communities of interdependent individuals. And we are to make use of what talents we do have to serve others as they, in turn, serve us. Together we build up society as a mutual support system" (94). As the New Testament teaches not all are apostles, teachers and prophets. God has given different gifts for the common good.

Hardy says a lack of self-knowledge and certain sins can hinder us from finding our true vocation. He notes, "we might have our eye on a certain career because of salary;" or we might choose a career path because of family wishes. Or certain vocations might not be esteemed in the community. Hardy thinks because of the common danger of self-deception, "it is good to seek the advice of others known for mature and balanced judgment" (97). I might think God has called me to a particular vocation but do others see in me the gifts required for that vocation?

Hardy lists some different steps to discover our particular vocation. The first one "is to identify the abilities and talents God has given us" (98). Two other things that can help are concerns and interests. What are our God-given concerns? What are our God-given interests? Hardy writes, "Discovering God's will for one's life is not so much a matter of seeking out miraculous signs and wonders as it is being attentive to who and where we are" (99). It is because of God's providence that we have these gifts, talents, interests, and concerns. These things are God's gifts to us and can serve as indicators of His will for our life.

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