Taken from "40 Days with John Piper" - Selected readings from 'A Godward Life' - Book I & II
Pondering Vocation as Service to Christ
The freedom to choose your vocation is a historical novelty. Until recent times, if you were a son and your father was a farmer or a blacksmith or shoemaker or a baker, it was almost certain you would be too. If you were a daughter, you would almost certainly be a hardworking homemaker and partner in the home-based family business. Choices were few. And a reading like this one would have been almost unintelligible.
But today, very few sons assume that they will follow in their father's vocation. And daughters have a wide scope of career paths they can follow instead of, or alongside, a more traditional homemaking career. Not only that, mid-career changes are not unusual. Which means that the crisis of choosing a vocation happens not just once, but several times for many people.
One of the things I love to do as a pastor is sow seeds of kingdom restlessness. I picture my preaching as taking trees by the trunk and working them back and forth to loosen the roots. My idea is that this will result in the roots of people's lives going down deeper into God's will where they are, or it will result in the roots being plucked up and planted in a different calling for even greater kingdom fruitfulness. Whatever else, I don't want my people to simply drift into a job or coast along in it with little sense of calling or significance for the supremacy of God in what they do.
So I prepared some questions for them in the hopes that they would be stirred to find jobs and do their jobs, as Paul said, "not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6, RSV).
Can I 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).
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).
Will this job help or hinder my progress in esteeming the value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord? "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).
Will this job result in inappropriate pressures to think or feel or act against my King, Jesus? "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men" (1 Corinthians 7:23).
Will this job help establish an overall life pattern that will yield a significant involvement in fulfilling God's great purpose of exalting Christ among all the unreached peoples of the world? "Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to My in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20).
Will this job be worthy of my best energies? "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Will the activities and environment of this job tend to shape me, or will I be able to shape it for the Christ-magnifying purposes of God? "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
Will this job provide an occasion for me to be radically Christian so as to let my light shine for my Father's sake, or will my participation in the vision of the firm tend to snuff out my wick? "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Does the aim of this job cohere with a growing intensity in my life to be radically, publicly, fruitfully devoted to Christ at any cost? "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mark 8:34).
Will the job feel like a good investment of my life when this vapor's breath of preparation for eternity is over? "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
Does this job fit with why I believe I was created and purchased by Christ? "Everyone who is called by My name... I have created for My glory" (Isaiah 43:7). "You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Does this job fit together with the ultimate truth that all things exist for Christ? "For by Him all... have been created through [Christ] and for Him" (Colossians 1:16).