Is there a “right” line of work?

“He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (ESV)

A long time ago I spent a lot of time with John Perkins, the community developer and civil rights activist. For years we were in the same room, and I often invited him into my life and labor, wanting those I loved to learn to love him and his world.

One day we were driving somewhere and he told me he realized he had been asking the wrong questions of 20-somethings who asked for guidance for their lives; in fact, he thought he had been misusing the days of his life. I asked him what changed, and he told me he now realized the great questions are “What is God’s will? Where it is being done?” and “What do I need to do to become part of it?”

Over the years I realized while there are probably other questions that need to be asked, his vision of one’s vocation was born of deep wisdom — and I have learned from him.

What is the right line of work? Well, that depends, of course. But my instincts are now more Perkins-formed, certain that making these questions the big questions matters. What is God doing in the world? What does he want done in the world? We will have to step into that with the particulars of our lives, but as an orientation it is much more healthy and holy than, “What is God’s will for my life?”

Simply said, God’s will is this: Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with the Lord your God. When we get that right, we will begin to find our way into the right line of work.

Prayer: Lord, help me by your Spirit, to live out Micah 6:8 moment by moment.

Topics: Calling and Career Choice, Christian Life, Meaning in Our Work

About the Author

Dr. Steven Garber is founder and president of The Washington Institute and author of Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good.