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How to Decide If You Should Take That Job You're Considering

In 1997, I put a list of Bible texts together to help folks think through what job to pursue. Below I have taken that list and added comments to flesh out more specifically what I had in mind.

My prayer is that these thoughts will help saturate your mind with the centrality of Christ in all of life. He made you to work. And he cares about what you do with the half of your waking life called “vocation.” He wants you to rejoice in it. And he wants to be glorified in it.

May the Lord position you strategically in the workplace as only he can when his people care deeply about these kinds of questions.

12 Questions to Consider

1. Can you earnestly do all the parts of this job “to the glory of God,” that is, in a way that highlights his superior value over all other things?

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

It almost goes without saying that a job that requires you to sin will not be done to the glory of God. Sin is any feeling, word or action that implies the glory of God is not supremely valuable. So you can’t sin to the glory of God. But things are often not that clear. A job may involve me in questionable practices that are not clearly sin. Then the question becomes: Is my conscience clear? And the crucial text becomes Romans 14:23, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

2. Is taking this job part of a strategy to grow in personal holiness?

For this is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

When Paul says, “Pursue righteousness” (1 Timothy 6:11), he does not mean: at church and home, but not work. Our work is about half our waking life. If personal holiness in all of life is our calling, then how this happens at work matters. God will be pleased if you ask the question: How does this job fit into the overall strategy of my pursuit of Christ-like character.

3. Will this job help or hinder your progress in esteeming the value of knowing Christ Jesus your Lord?

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)

Think through the demands of this job and how it may affect your pursuit of knowing and treasuring Jesus. For example, will it require you to choose between excellence in work and faithfulness in corporate worship? Will it present you with sinful images or offers, to which you are most vulnerable—that is, which lure you to treasuring this world more than Christ?

4. Will this job result in inappropriate pressures on you to think or feel or act against your King, Jesus?

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23)

The point here is bondage. All jobs constrain behavior. We must show up. We must produce these outcomes. We must follow these procedures. Constraints are not bondage if we joyfully affirm their wisdom. Will this job pressure you in ways that are in fact unduly oppressive and enslaving?

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.