Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mystery of Providence - Chapter Four

Our Employment

What a blessing it is to perform work fitting to your inclinations and your abilities. How satisfying to work in a vocation that not only provides for your needs but also suits your sensibilities.

In this chapter Flavel reminds us of the work of God's Providence in fitting us for, and placing us in, our vocations. As he ends the chapter he writes:

Be well satisfied in that station and employment in which Providence has placed you, and do not so much as wish yourself in another. ‘Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called’ (1 Cor. 7. 20). Providence is wiser than you, and you may be confident it has suited all things better to your eternal good than you could do had you been left to your own option. (pg. 80)

As I read these words I recounted my career and all of the steps leading up to it. Even though I had attempted to "abide in the same calling" I, like many of my peers, discover that I have not had a single career path, but a succession of careers. I can honestly state that I have not been seeking a career change when one occurred, but have often had them forced upon me.

When I graduated from Seminary in 1989, and was led to the church that I now pastor, I was informed that it would be a bi-vocational position. Recognize that at that point I didn't even know how to spell "bi-vocational" let alone know what it entailed. I spent the first year serving as a substitute teacher. At the end of that year a position opened up, but the needs of the business soon directed me into another set of responsibilities, and then another. I remember feeling very content with my job, and felt that I had finally "arrived". Yet, one day my boss called me to his office in Santa Fe, and informed me that he was giving me a new assignment, one that would have me commuting 130 miles each day to that city. When I objected I was told that either I accept this new assignment or terminate my employment. How disappointed I was as I saw 3 hours of my work day evaporate in driving. In the course of this assignment my duties changed to those of more responsibility, and then I found that my skills were no longer needed in my department. Yet, another department desired my services and the experience that I had obtained in this assignment, and I soon found myself performing similar duties in a new setting. After nine years of commuting I was reassigned to a place of work within seven miles of home. I now found that I had regained a large portion of my week, in addition to performing duties that are well suited to my skill set and which provide both a decent living and job satisfaction.

Will this situation continue? Probably not. In fact, I will be eligible for retirement from my job in less than four years, and will then see in which direction God wants me to proceed.

What lies ahead? Only God in His wisdom knows, but I am assured that His Providence will lead me in the proper direction.

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