How do I know that my job is the one God wants me to be in?
The question you are asking is one that all Catholics should ask themselves. Not once, but regularly.
An axiom for finding a solution to a problem is to begin with the end in mind. With that in mind, the Church has taught that the reason we are all created is to know, love and serve the Lord — so that, ultimately, we will be united with him in heaven.
God created you with unique talents and abilities. The specific job you have is important, but God is not as interested in your title or tasks as he is in whether or not you are using the gifts he gave you.
In order to determine what job you should be in to best honor God with your particular gifts, ask yourself some questions.
What are my gifts? Am I “wired” for scientific analysis? Do I have the gift of communication? Can I problem-solve? There are many questions you can ask yourself in order to determine your gifts. God designed you as a custom model with a certain set of gifts. He gives you the free will to determine where and how you will use them.
What is it that makes me feel the most fulfilled? God will give you joy when you are doing work that pleases him. Don’t confuse this with easy work or a stress-free environment. I intentionally used the word joy and not “happiness” or “a sense of fun.” Joy can be felt in the midst of pain and suffering and it is a gift from God to confirm the path that you are on.
Am I able to glorify God in my work by using the gifts that he has given me? In other words, if you have the gift of communication, what are you communicating? Do you promote products or services that lead others to sin? Do you use your influence to build people up or do you speak to people in a way that robs them of their dignity?
Does my work draw me closer to the Lord? It is important for anyone who is serious about the question proposed to get spiritual direction on a routine basis. You need to form your conscience. If you have a well-formed conscience then you will know at the end of any given day whether your work was sanctifying or harmful for your soul or not.
In the parable of the talents, the servant who took the greatest risks received the greatest reward — but he only took risks according to his ability. If you are failing to use your gifts to glorify God because you are afraid of failure, then you should pray for the grace to recognize your abilities.
There are times when God’s providence will require that you work for a specific company at a specific time. But, most often, people are asked to bloom where they are planted. Ultimately the job you should have is the one that will get you to heaven. It would be nice to receive an e-mail telling you what job God wants you to have — but that could rob you of the opportunity to grow in your faith.
Dave Durand is
author of Time
Management for Catholics.
He’s online at davedurand.com.