Yesterday I argued from the principles in 1 Corinthians 7:39-40 that our own happiness is a legitimate consideration in making major life decisions. This is how Paul sees the choice to marry, and it seems that the same principle carries through to other areas of freedom, such as what job to choose.
Today I wanted to give a helpful example of this. As I’ve argued before, choosing a job that you want to do is typically the path to greater effectiveness. Here’s an example that illustrates that, from William Lane Craig (a top Christian apologist), from his book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision:
Jan and I have found that in our life together, the Lord usually shows us only enough light along the path to take the next step without knowing what lies further down the trail. So one evening as Jan and I were nearing the end of our time at Trinity, we were sitting at the supper table, talking about what to do after graduation. Neither of us had any clear idea or leading as to what we should do.
At that point Jan said to me, “Well, if money were no object, what would you really like to do next?”
I replied, “If money were no object, what I’d really like to do is go to England and do a doctorate under John Hick.”
He goes on to tell the story of writing a letter to inquire about studying with Dr. Hick, getting accepted, how God brought the money together for this in spite of the fact that they were “as poor as church mice,” and how his studies in England turned out to be foundational to the whole rest of his ministry.
This is a great example of choosing a job (or, in this case, the next step along the path) for fundamental reasons rather than instrumental reasons.
In other words, doing what you find meaningful in itself is usually the path to greatest joy and effectiveness, rather than trying to take a lot of steps that you don’t want to take, but which seem “necessary” to get where you want to go. Craig’s story here is as good of an example of that as any — especially since he pursued it in spite of many obstacles in the way, and the Lord provided.
I know that there can be extenuating circumstances for people. But as much as you can, make career choices for fundamental reasons rather than instrumental reasons.