One of the age-old questions seems to be, "Who am I, what am I doing, what should I be doing, when will I find out?"
Yes, that's more than one question, but I'm trying to cover most of the bases. Perhaps I should have asked, "What is the job that God has picked out for me?"
If I knew that answer, it will certainly cut down a lot of interviews, eliminate a lot of useless education and move me towards a satisfactory, fulfilling, lucrative and happy life.
The answer I have heard and felt makes sense to me is, "Find a job you love and do it for the rest of your life."
That would sound good if one could find that beloved job, not have to worry about a fluctuating economy and the company doesn't go bankrupt. Let me add that God, in His infinite wisdom, first led me into retailing, then to the ministry and finally moved me to education. I have loved every step of the way!
As a young man, working for my grandfather as a gofer, cleaning up grease pits in a machine shop, driving a truck in high school for George Tobacco Company and trying to drill for natural gas in the West Virginia hills in the dead of winter, prepared me for this: have fun in whatever I am doing and learn something from every opportunity.
I really must state, "I didn't even think about that first and great mind-numbing question. I just got a job and did it."
The first time I really thought about a future occupation that fit my dreams was to consider being captain of my own boat when I was in the Navy.
"Boat?" you say. Onboard the U.S.S. Iowa, a battleship of massive size and offensive capability, the captain would pick some of us sailors, call us to the wheelhouse and say, "Boy! Take the wheel and drive this boat!"
For what it's worth, the stern is what turns. It's not easy going to a heading like 180 SSE. There are no breaks and the captain had a very colorful vocabulary.
Four years in the Navy taught me quite a bit.
Now, allow me to add to that first question: love that job so much that you would work for free just to be there.
I had a student who asked me, "When did you lose your faith?"
My answer was, "Huh?"
He explained, "Well, you must have if you left the pastorate to become a teacher."
He said it in such a vocal tone that it was as though I had stooped to the level of a street beggar.
Most of you know that many colleges are pushing the STEM programs: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. That sounds so good. However, in the latest Business & Money report, the real reason new college grads can't get hired is not because they don't know science or are clueless when it comes to technology. It is because they don't show up on time, dress appropriately and work with other people.
The Bible really doesn't mention much about work, insofar as STEM is concerned, but it does say a lot when it comes to taking care of the poor, hungry and needy. Please read Matthew 25. Of course, 2 Thessalonians 3 is often quoted, "If anyone will not work, let him not eat." Let's not take this quote out of context and read it as a warning to those on welfare, Food Stamps or needing government assistance.
If I were to sit down to think about what God wants me to do with my life, it would be two-fold: enjoy every opportunity He gives me and live wisely. The first part almost goes without saying, but here goes, "When the jobs come — and they most certainly will — show up on time, take pride in what you do, work hard even when no one is watching, go home with a smile on your face because of a job well done."
The second part is never ending: Proverbs 4:7b, "Get wisdom!"
We all have a starting place, as Proverbs teaches, "We begin the long road of wisdom by understanding that reverent obedience to the Almighty God and His absolute rule is the first step."
There is always too much to say and so few pages which fill all too quickly. Let me close with this: Tom Campbell of the old Penney Store #1459 said to me, "John, forget all that stuff you learned at college. We'll teach you how to be one of J. C. Penney's best." And they did.
I like to believe that God speaks to us every day and He says, "If you listen to My words and follow them daily, then you will understand how to live a wonderful life. By the way, I have an opportunity for you that is out of this world!"