What is my calling? Where should I work? What should I do with my life? What is God’s best for me? How would God prefer I use my time, gifts and talents? Are there things He would prefer I NOT do, at least not right now, or maybe never again? Are there things I need to learn, to pursue, to train for? In seeking answers to these questions, I once made a list of 50 people I respected. I then arranged to meet with them one-on-one and asked them, “What do you do, and how did you know God wants you to do it?”
At the time, I had a good job as an engineer. My boss, a strong Christian, had hired me as his protégé and my future in the engineering business looked bright. However, I had such a strong passion for ministry that I wanted to explore what serving in ministry as a profession might look like.
I didn’t know, so I asked others what they were doing and why. Some were in business; some in education; some served as pastors, missionaries, or non-profit ministry leaders; some were family and friends.
God did use many of their answers to help clarify His call in my life, both at the time and during the years since. It would be nice if those questions were answered once and for all, but, even where there is a clear call, how that call is lived out varies on a year-to-year, day-to-day basis.
It has for me. I have sought to serve God faithfully as a student, an engineer, a pastor, a businessman, an educator, and an executive. I believe God wants to use me where I am, but He also seems to always be preparing for me for where He wants me to be.
One measure I use is what I call “net kingdom gain.”
Out of all of the choices set before me, which one(s) seem most likely to further advance the kingdom of God?
Given who I am, and how God has made, gifted, and experienced me, how can I best serve Him and others?
One businessman told me that God had gifted him with “knowing people and giving away money.” He wasn’t good in school, or working with his hands, or teaching or preaching or singing. But, he knew people, and He knew the Lord. So, he hired well-educated, competent people, invested in their lives and families, and their successful business blessed all of their lives and made a lot of money, a tithing portion of which he shared joyfully.
Others confessed that God wanted them to lay some things down, or repurpose them for His kingdom, in ways that required significant life, work, and sometimes educational changes on their part.
One person framed their own search this way. “Perhaps, anybody can do X,” they said, “My question is what is God’s unique call on my life, and how can I best live that out right now?”
I also learned to include regular ebb and flow in my considerations. Working hard – putting our hands to whatever plow the Lord has given us – is part of our call. But so is eating, exercising, playing, resting, and worshiping well as part of a healthy, balanced life.
God wants to use me where I am, but He also seems to always be preparing for me for where He wants me to be.
Jesus lived out net Kingdom gain by choosing timely priorities. For a long time, working in the local Nazareth family business was his priority. Then, reaching a lost world through preaching, healing, and leading others was his priority. Sometimes, prayer alone, or offering to heal some people but not others, or going to a different town even though there was plenty to do locally, was his priority. Later, offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins was his priority. He did the math regularly, and chose His priorities accordingly, even when some of his actions seemed to make no sense at the time.
So should we. Let’s do the math, and calculate our life actions and priorities according to net kingdom gain.
K. Lynn Lewis serves as President of The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas and is the founder and President of InspireUSA: Celebrating the Best of America®. A seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse professional background in business, education, and ministry, he is the author of Boss Like God: A Blueprint for Elite Workplace Performance (2018), Meat and Potatoes for the Soul (2013,2015), Plight (2015), and Christian Communication in the Twenty-first Century (2002), and producer of What a Dig and Shiloh Network News video series.