Calling (full chapter) What does the Bible say about our 'calling' when it comes to our jobs? Is it really true that God 'calls' every person to a particular role that is tailor-made to their gifts, abilities, and passions? In some ways, that's a powerful thought. It speaks to God's individual care for us and the fact that he does in fact have a plan for each and every one of us. But does the Bible really use the word 'calling' in that way? Not really. Actually, there are only a few ways the Bible uses the idea and concept of 'calling,' and none of them really matches that idea. To make matters worse, a mistaken idea of 'calling' can actually leave us uniquely vulnerable to both idolatry and idleness in our jobs. Think about it: If you believe God has called you to a certain role or job--and that's not what you're doing right now--it's easy to begin to think that you can just mail it in until God finally puts you in your 'calling.' Not only so, but you can even begin to idolize a job or role that you don't even have...simply because that (and nothing else!) is your 'calling.' If we're going to talk about calling at all when it comes to our jobs, there's a better way to do it. On the one hand, if it's true that God is sovereign over every detail and even minute of your life, then whatever job he has placed you in right now is the job he has called you to do for this period of your life. On the other hand, any sort of 'calling' must be a combination of three things: desire, ability, and opportunity. Most people think of 'calling' simply as the first of those, desire. If I have a desire to be this or that, the thinking goes, then I have a calling to it. But that's simply not the case. If you have a desire to hold a certain job, but neither the ability nor the opportunity to actually hold it, then you don't have a calling to that job. You have a desire for it, and that's it. So when will you know you have a calling to it? When God actually gives you that job! Maybe better than the idea of 'calling' would be to talk about assignments or deployments that God gives us for various seasons of their lives. If we thought about our jobs that way, maybe we wouldn't spend so much time and energy pining for a 'calling' we imagine God has given us (which actually is just a strong desire we have!), and more time and energy working and serving with excellence in the deployment the King has given us right here and right now! Women (full chapter) Forty-seven percent of the US workforce is made up of women. So often, though, faith and work ministries are geared to men. Some unbiblical extremes cause confusion around this topic, including the seeming divide between working women and women in the home. Sixty seven percent of married women with children work outside of the home. What does the Bible say to affirm the value of women in both contexts? The truth is found in rediscovering where a woman's identity and value come from and how that plays out practically in different assignments. We want to affirm to all reader (men and women): Be who you are. God has made you a man or a woman. Masculinity and femininity are going to look different for different people. In the workplace, look for opportunities to be who God has created you to be---in the job you select and in how you do your job. Missions (appendix) Given Sebastian's role as Executive Vice President of the International Mission Board, the addition of an appendix on the specific application of leveraging a job for the sake of missions is a value add to the book as well as an opportunistic decision. We feel the world trends of globalization and urbanization have flattened the world like never before. When you combine that with the Millennial's desire to explore the world, you have a nearly limitless missions force begin raised up in the church. The difference, however, is that this missions force does not need to leave their jobs, they need to leverage their jobs for the global s
Sebastian Traeger is the executive vice president of the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention. He previously worked in business and technology where he started, led, and built several companies such as FiveStreet, Razoo, Silas Partners, and Village Phone. Greg Gilbert is Senior Pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of What Is the Gospel?, What is the Mission of the Church?, and Preach: Theology Meets Practice. Previously, Greg served as an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and as Director of Theological Research to the President of Southern Seminary in Louisville. He earned his MDiv from Southern Seminary in 2006 and his B.A. in History from Yale University in 1999. Greg lives in Louisville with his wife, Moriah, and their three children, Justin, Jack, and Juliet.