Following a Calling and Paying the Bills
By Mitchell Powers
In the United States in 2019 the graduation rate of four-year undergraduate college students was 63%.  55.3% of those students were employed.  So, for the students of this era, the challenge is how to gain employment in a highly competitive work environment without compromising your dreams, ambitions and calling.
Business journals and self-help books propose a variety of ideas on what to do in this situation, but for those who follow the Christian faith perspective, here are a few words of wisdom.
First, the narrative of the Bible, and the works of the Lord suggest that humans, and the overall created order, have a calling. In Jeremiah God speaks to a nation who seemingly have lost sight of their calling and way.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 
God, in the very beginning, destined humanity saying that humanity was to work the earth, steward it, and build it up into a great kingdom, into a beautiful garden-city.  Despite sin and the fall of humanity, this calling still beckons us today as Christians. We are to build the Kingdom of God. That happens inside and outside of the church. It happens in start-up coffee shops, ethical clothing brands, and your part in managing the finances of any business. It is building the Kingdom of God, the garden-city, in the therapy room or when the social worker in CPS works with a young child in a broken family. It’s in engineering and pursuing technology and creating just as God did. Building the Kingdom of God is the nurses and doctors who extend the healing ministry of Christ. To those who stock the shelves and pump gas, you all build the kingdom in the work you do.
God’s plan in Jeremiah is to use the gifts he has distinctly given to each of us to build up the kingdom. So, when we have a calling, it is simply God’s gifts in us being projected and best applied to a career or path in life that will use our unique skill sets.
So, when you graduate, and when you face the competitive work environment, follow your distinct calling in Christ by praying that the Holy Spirit might guide you and provide you patience in the process of finding a job. Find a counsel of trusted colleagues and professionals to help you network. Trust that God has given you a calling and will provide you an employment that will meet that calling for the Kingdom.
Not only should you follow your calling, but you ought to pursue an adequate income and compensation. Yes, the Bible says that money can be the root of all evil, but in the Bible, money is treated and stewarded as a tool. We ought to advocate for ourselves and seek out callings in places of employment and for an income that is adequate. In this we must be fair and generous and wise in how we steward our income so that we still treat money as a tool and not hoard it and become like the rich young ruler who would not enter heaven due to his unyielding desire for money.
So, to the graduates out there, do not be afraid to follow your calling in life and to find employment for your calling. Additionally, do not be afraid to pursue an adequate income and compensation. Trust that God has a plan for you and where your skills will be applied. Trust that God wants you to make an income just as much as you do. Pray earnestly and trust His plan and be willing to be flexible and let the Holy Spirit guide you into the place that He needs you to be.
- Graduation Rates. (n.d.). National Center for Education Statistics. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40
- Hess, A. J. (2021, December 10). Just 50% of the college class of 2020 had traditional full-time jobs 6 months after graduation. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/10/50percent-of-the-class-of-2020-got-full-time-jobs-6-months-after-graduation.html
- Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
- Genesis 2:15, NIV