Many have compared this economy to the Great Depression. But these are different times. Given the interconnectedness in the world economy, competition for jobs is no longer local, or even national; it’s global.
What does the postrecession labor landscape look like? Since December 2007, US employers have shed 8.7 million jobs. As of 2011, they have added only about 2 million. Both older and younger workers are increasingly forced to accept part-time or temporary jobs in lieu of full-time work or to take full-time jobs inappropriate to their skill level and previous pay grade (AARP Newsletter, Spring 2011).
When seeking a job or contemplating a career change, we may feel at the mercy of economic forces – that we need to fit into what’s available. But why let these factors victimize us? Do we dare resist? Where do we turn for help and direction? In my several career changes, I disregarded the economic prognostications and trusted myself wholly to God – to an understanding of Him and His love for me. When in need of income, the obvious thing to do is to look for a job. In that process, though, feeling a deeper desire to glorify God can reveal wonderful new possibilities.
Jesus, who knew God better than any of us, proclaimed that all who turn to God receive what they need. Not because of worthiness or prayerful words, but because God loves each of us as precious children. There’s a big difference between Jesus’ understanding of prayer and the uncertainty regarding whether and when God answers prayers.
What can we expect in answer to prayer? An explanation of prayer written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, has been helpful to me when needing employment and figuring out the direction of my life. Referring to a statement in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, she explained: “When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, – but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the ‘river of His pleasure,’ the tributary of divine Love....
“To love, and to be loved, one must do good to others. The inevitable condition whereby to become blessed, is to bless others” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 127).
What do we get from our Father-Mother? “Grace, obedience, and love.” How do these meet our need? God’s grace includes skill, wisdom, courage, persistence, vision, and the humble expectation of success. Obedience includes the courage to follow God’s direction and not let fear or doubt dissuade us, and to stay focused on doing God’s will, which is always good. God’s love, as we express it, opens doors, connects us to those seeking our help, and is unlimited in its application to every need. Divine Love is inexhaustible. Grace, obedience, and love move us forward in productive and fulfilling activity. These qualities have deeply enriched my own career path over the years.
As the new economy brings new demands, a career search centered on serving God in whatever we do will reveal new ways of blessing others and of being blessed.
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