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Maybe Jesus Wants You to Stick With Your Career

July 16, 2012

Here’s an excerpt from my new e-book, “At Work as it is in Heaven” which hopefully entices you to plunk down $2.99 and add this awesome haul to your Kindle-reader inventory. Or, maybe it scares you away. Whatever.

These are worrisome times we are living in. We’re dealing with an unprecedented global financial crisis, a stubborn recession, more and more layoffs, and a growing government deficit. It’s just bad news all the way around.

Add this pile of stink to the routine madness that you and I deal with daily, as a matter of course. Like trying to raise decent kids, and maintaining a good marriage, and paying all the bills, and the house is always a mess, the career pressures, and — Hey! What is that red spot on my shoulder? Was that there before?

So, I’m in somewhat of a gloomy mood as I sit down to read my daily dose of scripture this morning.

In keeping with God’s extraordinary sense of humor and good timing, my eyes are immediately drawn to a bold heading above the verses I’m about to read. It says in a very objective and authoritative, yet casual, italicized font:

Do not worry.”

I read the Luke 12:23-33 passage with great concentration and an earnest desire for tranquility. But here’s what that cynical voice in my head is saying: Sure, it’s easy for Jesus to tell these people not to worry. He didn’t have the financial responsibilities of a family to worry about!

Those disciples and apostles didn’t have a mortgage payment, or car repairs, or the care and well-being of their families to think of, or college tuition payments to worry about so that their kids could get a decent start in life and avoid spending the next ten years paying off college loans the way their parents did.

The great founding fathers of our faith have very little to say about the sticky little pressures of modern family life. Couldn’t Jesus and the other guys who wrote the gospels and the epistles have given us parents and spouses a little more credit? Instead we hear them encouraging men to stay single, don’t get married unless your loins are burning up. It’s like Jesus called on these random guys to be his disciples, and bam! Just like that they leave their jobs, families and homes. Goodbye responsibility, hello Jesus!

It would have given me great comfort if, just once, Jesus told someone that the kingdom of God would be better served if he stayed at home, kept his job and took good care of his family rather than abandoning it all for the gospel:

Jesus approached a young man named Bartolomes at his place of work and said, “Follow me.” Bartolomes immediately dropped his spreadsheet tablets (for lo, he was an accountant) and got up to follow Jesus.

His wife and six children however, chased after him frantically, crying out desperately for him to remain with them and help pay the bills so they could eat three squares a day and have a decent roof over their heads.”

“Jesus, aware of the potential family meltdown, turned to Bartolomes and said, ‘No, I did not mean for you to follow me, literally. Dost thou not have a brain in thine head to think with? I meant follow me in your heart. You will do more good for the Kingdom of God by faithfully loving and caring for your family as if you were loving and caring for me, than you ever would by gallivanting across the land.'”

Wouldn’t that be great?

Thanks to Davis for the photo.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 7:20 am

    Congrats on the book and I did download it. This topic is an interesting one, since so many are ‘dissatisfied’ with their careers. But the truth is that although we are dissatisfied, we are sticking it out. There’s no place to go. I fyou have a job, you suck it up and stick it out.

    But on the flip side, Jesus often calls us to to the crazy. And your humorous scenario about Bartolomes is what we wish for. But following Jesus is rarely safe. It’s dangerous. And sometimes, that means just walking away.

  2. phil herman permalink
    July 16, 2012 9:52 am

    Jim, I may have to spring for a Kindle now. I still like the feel of a book in my hands. Love the Bart character in the Lost Gospel. Reminds me of a lot of us.

  3. July 16, 2012 11:29 am

    Another to-read book on my Kindle! Congrats.
    I think a lot of this has to do with the idea of career. Paul was a tent-maker. One wouldn’t really call that his career but a “side-job.” But when does a side job become a career? What if our 9-5 work is to be considered our side job?

  4. July 17, 2012 7:26 am

    “Follow me in your heart”–as an accountant. That’s just about the most succinct description I’ve read of what it means to connect faith and work.

  5. July 18, 2012 1:56 pm

    J.B. — great essay that’s one of my favorites from your book, which is excellent by the way. I’ve had similar thoughts, and then it eventually occurs to me that Jesus’ circle of apostles was pretty small. They did a ton to grow the faith. But they couldn’t have done it without the work of hundreds and then thousands of more loosely connected disciples from that time, many of whom presumably had families and jobs and still made living out their faith a top priority under very adverse conditions. I’d like to read about those people somewhere — but even imagining their presence and contributions makes living out our faith in modern suburbia a little easier.

  6. July 20, 2012 5:49 pm

    Love this…..I can just see the wife and kids chasing after him down the road!

  7. Julie permalink
    July 23, 2012 11:22 pm

    Love this! I’m currently a full time mom who’s facing the day when all three of my chicks are in school full time; the day that people start asking me what I’m “going to do with myself.” It’s scarey, and quite honestly seems to be already creeping in on me. The past year has found me rediscovering my passion for art but also questioning God’s plan for my engineering degree. It can’t be completely outside His plan, right? Hmmm…
    Looking forward to reading the rest of your book 🙂

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