The complete title of this article is really "Good News for Unemployed, Underemployed, Laid Off and Otherwise Professionally Lost People." It will also appear in the August edition of the newsletter of the Fellowship of Global Christian Jobseekers (globaljobseekers.org) If you have questions or comments you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a great weekend! Seems like I have been talking about Jesus since Friday night! And I love to talk about Jesus. I love it because at those moments I feel like I'm doing what God put me here to do. I love it because it was so natural and so easy and just seemed to flow out effortlessly.
No strife, no stress, no constant nagging feeling like I hoped I was saying the right thing. God was just doing it through me. This is what makes me feel like I'm fulfilling the call of God on my life more than just about anything else. And, of course, that is the Great Commission and what we're supposed to be doing.
Jesus told his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19, 20) You may wonder how do you do this if you are unemployed, underemployed, laid off or otherwise professionally lost?
First, the Bad News
One of the things that really helped me this week to be able to share my faith so freely was that I had been reading a little book put out by Seabury Press, called Exploring Faith and Life: A Journey In Faith For Junior High by Barbara Wolf. I highly recommend it.
If I had read this book at age 12, perhaps it would not have taken me as long to become a Christian. What I got out of it was the plainest presentation of the gospel I have every seen. Made me wish everything I read was written for junior high age people.
You probably are not junior high age if you are reading this. But I bet you can still relate to this. The book talks about how we are all trying to get back to the “natural happiness represented by the Garden (of Eden)...Like fish out of water, we cannot be what we want and ought to be...as human beings, we have lost our place and we don't seem to be able to get home again.”
Then, the Good News
Some of us feel like “a fish out of water,” or like we've “lost our place” in the workforce. It feels like we're a “square peg in a round hole,” or a “round peg in a square hole.” I've never been sure which it was. Being laid off, or failing to accomplish a career goal, being underemployed, or unemployed, all of these things can make us feel lost.
The amazing thing is that the answer for a person misplaced in the job market is the same as for the person who has not found their way to God by repenting of sin and allowed Jesus Christ to be their Savior. Jesus came to take away our sin, and this is a lifelong process. And when you are in a professional bind of some kind, this can be part of that process.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Colossians 2:6: “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” Verse 7 goes on to say, “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” The Good News is Jesus is still the answer! Just like getting saved again (sort of). You may even have some sins to repent of.
An Opportunity to Learn to Trust
So in times like this, if you can, think of this time, first of all, instead of panicking and applying for 76 jobs, as a time to come to Jesus for – salvation! Only this time not necessarily salvation of your soul (although it may feel like it), but salvation of your work life, your professional life, your calling, if you will.
You have to come to then end of something in order to begin something new. You may not know exactly what that may consist of, but God does. This is an opportunity for you to strengthen your faith in the Lord, your witness for him, by being thankful and deepening your roots in Christ. God is making you a better minister of his, so if you need to, fasten your seat belt and get ready for an adventure.
Two Steps to Follow
So, here are some conclusions. First of all, be thankful. Remember we are to be thankful in all circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18). As you look to Him, God will deliver you of all your fears. (Psalm 34:4)
Second, remember, God knows all about it and he has promised to take care of you, right? (Philippians 4:19)Because you are His, you are His responsibility. Of course, you have to seek Him and His will, and “if you don't work neither should you eat.”(II Thessalonians 3:10). But the second point is to seek the kingdom of God and all his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Finally, pray and ask God for wisdom, then follow His instructions. James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind...”
So I pray for you as you embark on the next step of the journey of your special calling that God has placed on your life. God is preparing you to fulfill the Great Commission in greater measure than previously.
Father, let my brother or sister who is struggling with a transition in his or her professional life to be at peace, to rest in You, that You would comfort and motivate them to seek Your kingdom with all their heart. Bless them with abundant provision, wisdom, a sense of Your presence as they are promoted in their walk with You. In Jesus' Name and for His glory. Amen.