Robert Jeffress - Finding The Perfect Job
Hi, I am Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Do you think God cares about your job? Do you think he has a plan for your career? Well before today's program is over, I hope you can answer those questions with a resounding yes. Using the words of scripture I intend to persuade you, that God cares about your employment and he wants nothing but the very best for you. My message is titled, "Finding The Perfect Job", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
In John 10:10, Jesus said "I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly". Contrary to what most people think, the eternal life that Jesus promised us, doesn't have to wait to begin until after we die. You don't have to die to experience eternal life, because you see the eternal life that Jesus promises, not only deals with the quantity of life we have, eternity, but the quality of life we experience. And Jesus wants us to begin experiencing that overflowing with joy, abundant, filled with purpose life in the here and now, and it can extend past the grave till the hereafter.
One important facet of experiencing that abundant overflowing with joy life that Jesus promised you, one key to experiencing it is to find your calling in life. And that's what we're going to talk about today. How to know God's will when it comes to your calling, your vocation if you will, your job. I mean, doesn't it make sense that if 70%, of your waking hours are going to be spent on your job that Jesus would care about what that job is? Somebody has said that nothing will drain the color from a person's face any more than an unfulfilling job. And so today we're going to see what God's word says about how to find the perfect job. How to know what God's unique calling in your life is.
Key number one, you've got to know the biblical principle. Know the biblical principle and the biblical principle is, your work. Your job is important to God. I've discovered ladies and gentlemen that many Christians have a perverted view of work, a perverted view that unfortunately comes from the church itself. And so today I want to share with you three erroneous views of work and then what I believe is the biblical view of work, how God looks at your job.
First of all, there are some people who embrace the work as our God Philosophy, work as our God. Now, this is the secular viewpoint that says we find our meaning and purpose in life through our job. Our job defines who we are, and so we pour all of our energy into our job. From the time our children are small, we start helping them discover what they're going to what? Be in life. What are you going to be in life? And by be we don't mean a dedicated Christian or a faithful husband or a loving wife. We mean what vocation are you going to grow up to be? And this is indicative of this work is our God Philosophy.
By the way, is work a worthy idol or object of our worship? Listen to what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 2:17-18. He spent his life building a successful career and he came to this conclusion, he said, "So I hated life for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me, because everything is futility, everything is striving after wind. Thus, I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me".
Solomon says, it's futile to spend your whole life working at a career that you will ultimately leave behind. And you may leave it to somebody who's not nearly as successful as you are. Do you know, by the way most small businesses that are started and passed on to another generation, just last about a generation and a half, and then they end up dissolving. Now, why spend your life building up something that you're going to have to leave behind? That's the work as our God Philosophy the idea that we derive our identity through our job. Well, some Christians reacting to that secular viewpoint have gone to another extreme, an extreme which perhaps many of you embrace, and that is the idea that work is our curse. Work is our curse. That is, our job, our work is really a judgment that has been passed down to us because of Adam's sin.
Turn over to Genesis 3 for a moment. Let me show you where people get this idea. Genesis 3, remember after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden God pronounced judgment on the serpent, and then on the woman, and then he came to Adam himself and look at Genesis 3:17, "Then to Adam, God said, because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree, about which I said you shall not eat from it. Cursed is the ground because of you, and toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life, both thorns and thistles that shall grow for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field, by the sweat of your face. You shall eat bread till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return".
Now we read this verse and here's what we think. We think if Adam and Eve haven't hadn't messed up in the garden, we would be sitting around eating bonbons all day. Just taking it easy, never had even to set the alarm clock and get up in the morning, but curse it be Adam and Eve, because they're the ones that made it hard for us to work. Work is a curse. It is a judgment from God. Now, through the years clergyman got kind of smart about this, it suddenly Dawned on them, if we keep telling our people that their jobs are absolutely meaningless and count for nothing, and if they all leave their secular jobs and go to the seminary, who's going to pay the bills? Who's going to keep working and tithing? Who's going to pay our salaries?
And so they came up with this third viewpoint that you've heard many times. And that is, work as our platform, work as our platform. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks in their book, "Your Work Matters to God" explain this viewpoint. It's the idea that your job, your secular job as a banker or as a real estate agent or as a grocery store clerk, your job is meaningless except when it provides you an opportunity to be a witness for Christ. And that is your job has meaning only to the extent that it gives you an opportunity to be a witness for Christ.
It's like a school teacher who says, "Well, I pay the bills by teaching school, but my real job is being a witness to Christ, to my students. God doesn't really care that much about teaching kids how to read and write, but to the extent that I get to be a witness to Christ then my work has meaning". And you hear people say that all the time, even if they work 50 hours a week and they only have five minutes to share the gospel with somebody, even if the other 49 hours and 55 minutes of their life is meaningless, those five minutes make their job worthwhile. Your work has meaning only to the extent that it gives you a chance to share the gospel with other people.
Now, let's be clear. God does want us to be salt and light wherever we are. God does want us to be a witness for him and take advantage of any and every opportunity we have to share the gospel. But do we really want to say that 99% of our working life is meaningless to God? I think there's a more biblical viewpoint of work and it's the one I want to share with you today, and that is work is our calling. Work is our calling. If you don't hear another thing I say today, hear this your job, your work in and of itself has meaning to God. Work is not a curse. Work is part of God's plan for your life and my life. Where do you get that in scripture pastor? Turn back to Genesis chapter one for a moment.
Now, this is all before the fall, okay? Before Adam and Eve's sin in the garden. And notice the purpose for which man was created, Genesis 1:26. "Then God said, 'let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'", verse 28, "And God blessed them and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky and over everything that moves on the earth".
God created man to rule over the earth. Now turn over to chapter two, verse eight. "And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east in eden, and there he placed the man whom he had formed". What was he to do in that garden? Sit around and enjoy it? Well, that's part of it. But look at verse 15, "Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it". Now, God could have created the Garden of Eden in such a way that it would've been self-sustaining. Things would've grown naturally, no weeds, no nothing, everything just took care of itself. But God didn't do that. He created the garden in such a way that it needed man's hand, man's work to cultivate it, to make it productive, to keep it, all of this before the fall.
You see, Adam was placed to be God's partner in his purpose. Adam's work was an extension of God's work, God created the garden, but he said to Adam, you cultivate it and you keep it. What I want you to see is, you and I have been created to be workers, we have been created to be an extension of God's work here on earth. Your job, whatever it is, is a calling from God. All work is important. It's like aw Tozer said, "It's not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it's why he does it".
If you want to know what your calling in life is, number one, first of all, know the principle, your job is important to God. Secondly, discover your desires. If you want to know what God has called you to do, discover learn what your desires are. Why? Again, Philippians 2:13, "God is working in you giving you both the power and the desire to accomplish his purpose".
A few years ago, my friend Bob beal of master planning international, introduced me to a concept called life work. Your life work, and I want you to write this down can be simply defined as, the work that is the best use of the rest of your life. My life work is that work which is the best use of the rest of my life. You see people in their twenties, they basically are interested in survival. You know, how can I make enough money to pay the rent, pay the bills? And that's okay. That's a normal stage. But when people tend to move to their thirties, they're more interested in success. That is they've got the basics covered now.
Now they want more money or they want a more prestigious position, again, nothing wrong with that, that's part of the cycle. But when people enter into their forties and early fifties they move from survival and success to significance. That is they want to know, how can I make a real and lasting difference in the world? Significance, and that's where life work comes in, what work, what job is really the best use of the rest of my life? How can you discover what your life work is your God-given calling? I want you to look on your outline.
I want to give you eight characteristics of your life work that will help you determine, what it is God has called you to do. First of all your life work will be something you feel passionate about. When you look around the world what needs do you see that need to be met? If God is calling you to do something he's going to give you a passion to do that.
Secondly your life work will utilize your single greatest strength. It will utilize your single greatest strength. Again, God is working in you not only giving you a desire to do something, but the power to do it. By the way could you summarize your single greatest strength in one word? If you were to try to summarize your single greatest strength in one word, what would it be? Maybe it's communication, maybe it's organization, maybe it's persuasion, maybe it's compassion for others. If God gives you a calling in life, he's going to give you the strength, the gift to do that, know what your single greatest strength is.
Number three, if you found your life work, you love it. It's something you love doing. Now, that doesn't mean you don't get frustrated at times, doing your life work but generally you're exhilarated by it.
Number four, you never tired of it. And again, that doesn't mean you don't get tired doing it but there's a difference between getting tired and tiring of something when you're doing your life work even when you're, you know, just scraping bottom physically and strength wise, you're still excited about it.
Number five and double star this, other people affirm you in it. When you are doing your life work, people will say to you things like, you were born to do this or this job was just tailor made for you. By the way, when you're not in your life work people will say things like, "How can you stand doing that"? Now they'll say, "You know I don't think you're going to be doing this much longer". If you found your life work other people will affirm you in it.
Number six, it is a good use of the rest of your life. It's a good use of the rest of your life, that is it's a worthy cause that you can connect to the purpose of God in your life.
Number seven, it maximizes your history. It maximizes your history. When dick halverson was appointed chaplain of the United States senate at age 65, he said "God has spent 65 years preparing me for this position". He looked back, he could, you can see how all of his experiences were working together to prepare him for that calling. It'll be the same way with you, when you discover your life work, you'll be able to see how God has orchestrated things in your life to give you the gifts you need and the experiences for that calling.
And number eight, you will be at peace. You'll be at peace. When you find your life work, you will think, this is me, this is what God has created me to do, there'll be a subtleness in your heart. How do you know what your vocation is? First of all, know the biblical principle, your job really is important to God. Secondly, discover your desires. If God is calling you to a particular work he'll give you a passion and the giftedness to do it. But there's a third consideration, and that is exercise practicality, practicality. Does this make sense?
You see your job, your vocation is not only a way for you to connect to the purpose of God in the world, but your vocation is also a way for God to bring you the financial resources you need to take care of yourself and your family. And that's why a very practical question for you is, can I make a living at this life work? Is it something I can make a living at that I can provide for myself and my family? By the way, it is God's will for you to take care of yourself and your family financially.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, "If any man does not provide for his own, especially those of his own household, he is worse than an unbeliever, he has denied the faith". God wants you to take care of your family. And the primary channel through which you will do that, is the life work to which he has called you. Now, seeing your calling your life work is a primary way through which God provides for you financially. That has two implications. First of all, when given a choice choose employment over unemployment. Choose employment over unemployment.
Occasionally, somebody will come to me and say, "Well, pastor I think God's calling me to quit my job". I'll say, "Well, really, why do you feel that way"? "Well, I'm just so unhappy, I'm just so unfulfilled, there has to be something better I can do". I'll say, "Well, fine do you have another job lined up"? "Well, no". The person will say, "I don't have anything lined up but I'm just trusting God, I just know he wouldn't want me to stay unfulfilled in the job I'm in". I say, "Wrong, stay where you are, until God opens another door, because it's always better to choose employment over unemployment".
If God wants to provide for you financially don't quit the job, don't give up the blessing he has given you until you have found something else. It's just a very practical consideration. It is easier to move from something to something else, than it is to move from nothing to something else. So when you can choose employment over unemployment. Number two, learn to differentiate between a hobby and a career. Differentiate between a hobby and a career when it comes to finding your life work.
I'll go ahead and confess it, I watch Seinfeld sometimes on television okay, it's a funny show, but I know there's one episode in which the hapless George Costanza finds himself unemployed once again, he's always talking to his friend Jerry about how am I going to find a job? What job should I go into? And so Jerry said, "Well, George, what do you enjoy doing"? And George says, "Well, I like going to the movies, I like watching football games and making insightful comments". Jury said, "Well, that's good but I'm not sure, you can make a living doing that".
The great New Testament scholar F.B. Meyer was one time, sailing from England to Ireland. As the ship was about to enter into the port in Ireland, Dr. Meyer went up on the bridge standing next to the captain and he saw this confusing array of lights on the shore. And he said to the captain, "How can you ever navigate the ship safely into the harbor with all of those lights"? And the captain said, "You see that light over here on the left"? Meyer said, "Yes". He said, "See that other large light right in the middle"? He said, "Yes". And notice that other light over here on the right. "Yes," the captain said, "Now notice what happens".
As the captain began to steer the ship, that light on the left suddenly and slowly moved until it became one with the light in the middle. And then as he continued to turn the ship those two lights that had become one, turned and merged with that third light. And the captain said, when those three lights become one light, then I know I can move safely ahead. F.B. Meyer said, God has provided Christians with three lights for determining his will, the Word of God, prayer and desires. And when those three lights become one light, then we can move safely ahead.
I want to suggest to you today that when it comes to discovering your life work, God has actually given us four lights, and I have them there on your outline. If you're trying to determine your calling in life, consider light number one. That is my passion. What is it God has called me to do? Write it down on your outline. My passion.
What do I feel passionate about? Light number two, my single greatest strength. What is it that God has gifted me to do? Light number three, practical considerations. Most prominently, can this calling, can this job pay the bills? And that light number four, God's purpose. Does this calling, this vocation, does it line up, with what God is trying to do in the world? And when those four lights come together and become one light, then you can know you have discovered your life work. In Colossians 3, the apostle Paul said, "Whatever work you do, do your work enthusiastically as unto the Lord. For it is the Lord Christ whom you serve".