Do You Have a Career With a Cause?
Do You Have a Career With a Cause? – By Dr. Anne Bradley
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
Speaking as someone who has spent considerable time in the hospital, I sympathize with the notion that doctors and nurses have jobs that allow them to help people. If you have spent any time in a hospital relying on a doctor’s wisdom, you understand. Doctors save lives.
However, we can’t and aren’t all called to be doctors. Have you ever heard someone say, “I want to be a doctor/nurse/firefighter because I want to help people?”
Those professions do help people and they save lives. But do you ever hear people say “I want to be a truck driver because I want to help people?” We don’t hear that too often, but perhaps we should. Truck drivers help people, often in ways we don’t realize:
- They transport gasoline so we can drive our cars and heat our homes.
- They bring us fruit, vegetables and milk so we get nourishment.
- They transport necessary medical supplies so the doctors and nurses can do their jobs.
This is the benefit and the power of the market process. The market plays directly into our God-given skills and our human anthropology. God created each of us uniquely with different sets of skills, talents, abilities and propensities, all in his image, as Genesis 1:27 reminds us.
If we focus on the things we are good at producing, what economists call our comparative advantage, we are then able to trade with others for the things they are good at producing. Doctors can only save lives if they have the buildings, supplies and technology to do so. This requires a vast array of skills. None of us are autonomous, but rather we are God’s handiwork, created to come together to serve the common good.
Our society tends to glorify two polar opposites in term of work. We glorify some high-paid professions like doctors and entrepreneurs, and we glorify lower-paid volunteer work as something noble that needs to be pursued without the reward of a salary. Neither of these is necessarily biblical. Pursuing a job with a high salary is no nobler than being a volunteer if you aren’t being called to that work.
Pursuing what God has called us to do with excellence, as Daniel did in Babylon (see Daniel 6:3), regardless of the salary, is biblical and it’s what can bring us joy. Markets enable us to come together not only to serve others but also to engage in work that brings us delight.
Want a career with a cause? Prayerfully spend time discerning your skills and take that path. God may lead you to factory work; if he does, you have a cause.
Dear God, Thank you for my work. Thank you for all those along with and through whom I am able to succeed in my vocational calling. Remind me daily to seek you and use my skills for Your purposes. Amen.
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CLS is working with the Institue for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE) to provide thoughtful and inpsiring devotionals to CLS members.
Anne Bradley, Ph.D. is vice president of economic initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org).
IFWE is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.