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Careers, Jobs, and God

As a cradle Catholic I cannot recall very many homilies or writings that spoke of careers and jobs. What do these things have to with being a Catholic? I am glad you ask. Being good stewards of our time has everything to do with our choice of careers. Most Americans will spend 100,000 hours working through their lifetime. That is a tremendous amount of time spent in various vocations. In addition, the average job in America is now 3.2 years long. The average American will have 14-16 different jobs in his/ her working lifetime (48 Days to the Work You Love, Dan Miller pg 14). With this information, does your job choice or career path reflect God’s plan for you? God gave all of us unique talents and gifts to bring honor and glory to His kingdom. It is wise to consider everything we have from Jesus and glorify Him by using it well. What we do for a living can reflect God’s love for us. Work does have obvious practical implications; we like to eat, keep a roof over our head, drive to work, and shower with hot water. But work should reflect our values and not be a place to dread on Monday and rejoice on Friday. All forms of work have levels of stress and frustration. However, if God has directed us where to work, the good should out weigh the bad.

Many people are “tied” to various occupations out of necessity or lifestyle choices. If that is your case, it is time to look at education levels or it is time to make lifestyle changes to become exactly who God made you to be. This is not an easy process. It requires a sacrifice of time to read books and learn new skills. It can require that we look at spending patterns so we can make career changes. Changing our current situations is scary. The “What if” question and the “Second guessing” syndrome can cripple us from fulfilling God’s plan. A complete trust in Jesus to see us through is the path to discipleship and stewardship. If the struggles from change put fear in you, read the following story.

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several house as it struggle to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could go no further. So, the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But, it has a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness of haste, did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

If a current job is not where God is calling you to be, ask for His plan to be revealed. In the mean time, look for ways to grow by taking a class, reading a book, or developing skills. If a current career choice is God’s call. Glorify Him by doing it well and give thanks and praise by returning a portion back to Him.

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