by The Rev. Rich Heinz
“What do you want to do when you graduate?” “What career would you like to pursue?” Questions like these are asked of teens and college students all the time. In fact, some start early, and sometimes we even ask children before they enter pre-school! But how do you respond?
Sometimes we attempt to get deep and “spiritual” about it, offering a very pious-sounding answer like, “I just want to do whatever God wills.” However, does that really fit in with what we know of God’s will? Does He have only one vocation that is truly for you? If you chose a different career than the one you once thought God was leading you toward, are you sinning?
Dear friends in Christ, the will of God does not work that way. God’s will can be done whether you end up a nurse or teacher, a homemaker, and mother or a “Geek Squad” manager, a pastor, or mechanic. As long as you are working an honest job for the good of others, and working out of the faith He has given you, God’s will is being done!
How is God’s will done?
God’s will is done when he breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.
[Small Catechism: Lord’s Prayer; Third Petition]
God’s will is simply that “[He] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (1 Timothy 2:4 ESV). The joy that you and I have is this: no matter what career or vocational choices we make in life, we can be His tools in reflecting His love in Christ to those we serve. In this way, through us, He will draw many to Himself “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
So is it wrong to change vocational choices? Absolutely not! The Lord has given you many talents. Find something you love, do your best as you reflect His love, and you already are doing His will. Will you mess up? Of course – daily! Yet God still wants to use you to touch the lives of others. And so His will is continually to deliver forgiveness to you in His Divine Service, and to renew you to go back out into the world in your vocation, all over again.
For those of you on your third or fourth or even seventh declared major in college, this is especially good news. While your parents and faculty advisors may grow weary of the changes, our loving Master and Teacher know that you can serve Him in any number of ways. You have freedom in Him to choose any of them to live “in faith toward [Him] and in fervent love toward one another.”
“I just want to do whatever God wills,” is an extremely broad statement, for anyone. So remember, dear Christian friends, the choices are many, and all honest vocations can be God-pleasing, abiding in His will. Do not worry about changes in plan, or having one choice that appears to “do His will” more than another. Don’t be fearful and intimidated by choices for your vocation, saying, “I just want to do whatever God wills.” His will is done “when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die.” He will do that no matter what you decide or where you go, so you don’t have to be locked into one vocation in order to be doing God’s will. The Lord will use you wherever you end up in life, to be His tool and His child in that place!