7. Occupational choice


  1. The more important work is to our lives, the more important is our choice of an education and profession. God gives us only one chance to live in this life, therefore we have only one lifetime to work for God. If we are called or compelled to work, and we have the freedom to choose an education and profession, God asks of us to take this choice to Him and His glory.
  2. We do not have to make this choice of an education and profession all on our own;105 God helps us with it. Therefore, this choice cannot be made without prayer and thorough reflection.
  3. The choice of a profession is not about what we earn from it, but whether we serve God with it; nor is it about what blessings it brings us, but whether we are a blessing to others; nor about how much fun we get from it, but whether we are in a position to honor God. God does not look at our paycheck, title, position, or ranking but directly at our heart.
  4. Our vocation is the guide for our choice of education and profession.106 We do not choose our profession ourselves but are called to it.107 God calls us towards dignified work, and He calls us through the needs in the world, the talents He gives us, and through available opportunities.
  5. In our vocation for a certain education and profession, we should realize that our primary calling is our conversion to God. We are called first and foremost to be someone, not to be something or anything. But from our conversion follows God’s call to live a godly life. From this follows our specific calling, our vocation, to do those works that God asks of each of us.
  6. Our vocation fits somewhere in God’s story. Each person has a unique, eternal role in God’s story. We are all missionary workers: we work with a mission, a mission that we don’t invent ourselves but discover in the purpose God has in mind for us. In determining our education and profession, we do not begin with ourselves but with God.
  7. Answering God’s call in our choice of education and profession requires self-denial and self-deprecation. It is God, not us, who is central. Our vocation is not a choice among many options but a commission.108 By following our calling, we show how God works in our life.109 To ignore God’s calling is to bypass God.
  8. It is important to ask ourselves what God is calling us to not only when choosing an education and profession but also when changing professions, as in a new job or position. Changing jobs or positions only to benefit oneself does not testify to a calling.110 Even though we are free to change jobs, we are bound in Jesus.111
  9. In choosing a profession, we must pay attention to whether God calls us through other people and through our ordinary situations. God uses our actual circumstances. We must embrace the specific opportunities we are given. It is not necessarily in waiting for the possibility that we can do something great for God but in honoring God in the position we are in.
  10. When God calls us to a task or position, He is not necessarily thinking only of us. He may choose us because of the effect our work will have on other people.112 Moreover, God may be calling us to do something now in preparation for what He will call us to do later.
  11. Social status and earthly prestige mean nothing to God. Therefore, we cannot expect God to take these into account when He calls on us.


  1. The choice of profession involves the choice of dignified work. Not all work reflects God’s dignity. Not every type of work is God’s work. We cannot choose a profession that dishonors God. We must avoid those professions that avoid God.113
  2. If Jesus, had He not been a carpenter, would not perform our job, then we do not have the right job. Similarly, if Jesus could not be our customer, then we probably have the wrong job. Moreover, if Jesus would not invest in our organization, then we probably are working at the wrong organization. Faith in Jesus excludes certain professions and jobs.
  3. The fact that Jesus sought out certain professions does not mean that He valued these professions. He came precisely to save these people.114
  4. Work is not worthy of God if it brings us and humanity further from God. Work is worthy of God if it brings us and humanity closer to God. If our work disturbs our relationship with God, then we must either work on our relationship with God or find other work. We must always prevent our work from breaking our relationship with God.
  5. Professions that are in themselves undignified, by definition, violate God’s commandments. For example, assassins violate the sixth commandment not to kill, brothel owners violate the seventh commandment to not commit adultery, and criminals violate the eighth commandment not to steal.115
  6. Even professions that are not in themselves unworthy of recognition could be unworthy of recognition. God does not call us to professions that exploit people, encourage hedonistic lifestyles, and that incite infidelity and envy.116 Professions that are unworthy of man are also unworthy of God. Likewise, God does not call us to professions that encourage idolatry and blasphemy. Professions in which we try to sit on God’s throne, build a tower of Babel, and pretend to be God, are unworthy of God.117


  1. God calls us through the needs in the world. The necessities in the world are God’s direction indicators for our calling. We are called to meet the real needs of humanity and thereby honor God. In both the big and small social and individual problems, God calls us in His desire to remedy these problems. In job selection, we should not be blind to poverty, disease, and oppression, or to spiritual and psychological distress, injustice, and social ills. A guiding question we can ask ourselves is: If Jesus were living on earth now, which problems would He name, stand up, and work for?
  2. Following Christ in our work means that we are committed to the needs of the world. When we do our work in accordance with God’s vision, we have a beneficial impact on the world and on those who live in it.
  3. With God, it is not about our social position, but whether we contribute responsibly to society. God does not rank jobs or professions. God sees everyone’s work in a larger context, from the totality. For a society to function, many types of professions and jobs that cannot exist without each other are needed. Therefore, one profession or job is not more or better than another.
  4. For God, there is no difference between blue- and white-collar jobs. They both come from God.118 God Himself instituted both physical and intellectual work in paradise.119 Jesus himself performed both physical and intellectual work on earth.120
  5. Honoring God can be done precisely in jobs that are low in social esteem and that are at the bottom of the social ladder. It is precisely as a toilet cleaner that we can honor God; it is precisely as a mine worker that we can honor God; it is precisely as an assembly line worker that we can honor God. The more subservient and humble our work is, the smaller we make ourselves and the greater is God.
  6. God does not call everyone to become a spiritual worker. If there were only pastors, a society could not function. With God, there are no such things as second-class callings. We are worthy of our calling if we are committed to God and look to Him alone for leadership and strength.121


  1. Our vocation depends on the talents God gives us. God enjoins us to use our talents for productive purposes.122
  2. God provides us with unique skills, abilities, and qualities.123 Every human being is unique. If God had not wanted us to be so, then He would have created us identical with each other. God gives us the amazing diversity of talents needed to serve one another and build our communities. God is at work all over the world, using the work of all kinds of people. Because God gives us our talents, these do not determine our salvation.
  3. People tend to have more talents than they can utilize; therefore, we cannot fully develop our potential. However, the more talents we have received from God, the more we must use them to do good. We offend God when we do not use these talents in our work.124 What is important is not what is the most that we can get out of them but what is the most we can give with them. The profit from our work is the extent to which our talents serve God and humanity.125 We excel in our work when we let our God-given talents shine. God gives us talents in the hope that we will profit and excel.
  4. God gives us the responsibility to discover our talents, to recognize that they came from Him, to develop them through education and formation, and to use them to glorify Him. This includes the responsibility to discover which talents we use in particular, and which talents best suit our God-given personality. Finding a profession requires finding our God-given talents. Therefore, training is important for discovering and developing our talents. God holds us responsible for what we do with what we have received from Him, even though our fate does not depend on this.
  5. God gives us everything we need to do what He calls on us to do. God gives us specific talents to fulfill our calling. God does not overcharge us. Therefore, when we choose profession, we are guided by what God gives us.
  6. At the same time, we should not be too picky in choosing a profession; we must do what needs to be done.126 We must be willing to do any work, even the most socially despicable one as long as it is dignified work.127 It is a privilege to be able to employ talents in our work, but it is not a breach of God’s promise if this is not possible. Nowhere in the Bible has God promised that we can fully develop all our talents in our work.


  1. Although work is quite important, those who are unable to work are no less important to God. Unemployment is a sin when it excludes from the labor process people who want to and can work. Unemployment is a sin when we are not willing to work even though we are called to do so.128
  2. If we cannot find paid work, we can still work in God’s Kingdom by praying for the work that others do, by volunteering and doing other unpaid work.
  3. If we are disabled, it does not mean that we are unfit for God. Our fitness for God does not depend on our works but on our faith. And although we are disabled, we can be a blessing to our neighbors in many other ways.
  4. Being physically or mentally limited to work does not mean we are limited before God. The more severely restricted we are, the more beautiful God considers the works we can still do.129 The more limited our abilities are, the more telling, brilliant, and better are the good works we nevertheless do.130
  5. When we are sick, God permits us to suspend our work because God does not require us to put our work above our health.131
  6. God permits us to retire. Even when God calls us to lay down our work, we can still commit ourselves to those who do work by praying for and coaching them. By passing on to others our lessons and experiences being a Christian worker, we give future generations the opportunity to grow in the faith.

  1. Psalm 32:8
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:17
  3. Proverbs 20:24, Ephesians 4:1
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:17
  5. Philippians 2:13
  6. 1 Corinthians 7:20
  7. Colossians 4:3
  8. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23
  9. Colossians 1:10
  10. Luke 19:1-10
  1. Exodus 20:13-15, Deuteronomy 5:17-19
  2. Leviticus 25:14-17
  3. Genesis 3:5-9, Genesis 11:4-9
  4. Exodus 31:1-11
  5. Genesis 2:15, Genesis 2:19
  6. Mark 6:3
  7. Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11-16
  8. Matthew 25:14-30
  9. Romans 12:6, 2 Corinthians 3:5
  1. Luke 21:1-4, James 1:17
  2. Luke 19:11-27
  3. Ezra 10:4, Ecclesiastes 9:10
  4. Titus 3:1
  5. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  6. 2 Corinthians 12:9
  7. Matthew 25:23
  8. Isaiah 28:12, Matthew 11:28


  1. How important is the choice of an education and profession? What role does being a Christian play in it? Does being a Christian make the choice of an education and profession more or less important? (#1)
  2. How intensely do I involve God in my choice of education, profession, and other work? Do I ever spend enough time on this choice? (#2 and #8)
  3. Do I think that guiding the choice of an education and profession is my (specific) vocation? (#4-5)
  4. How does my calling, my vocation, fit into Gods story (#6)?
  5. In general, what do I think Gods call consists of? What does Gods calling to me consist of? (#9-11)
  6. Does my (intended) work reflect Gods dignity? (#12-17)
  7. Is my (intended) work environment an appropriate place for Gods holy presence? (#13)
  8. If Jesus were to seek me out in my work, would it be to encourage me in my work or to spur me on to other work? (#14)
  9. Are there any other professions, besides the above mentioned, that are contrary to any of Gods commandments? (#16)
  10. Is someone who has a God-unworthy profession necessarily godless (#17)?
  11. In my work, are there so-called towers of Babel that I am building on? (#17)
  12. Am I ashamed to God for the work I do (#14-17)?
  13. Which needs do my (intended) work remedy (#18-19)?
  14. Do I think that with God there is (isn’t) a ranking of professions and jobs? (#20-23)
  15. If God calls me to do so, am I willing to accept any job? In other words, am I willing to accept for Gods sake even the socially lowest job? Or would I feel too important to work in Gods Kingdom? (#22 and #29)
  16. What specifically are my talents (#24-25)?
  17. What, with all due respect, is the return on my work-related talents? (#26)
  18. What do I do to (permanently) develop my work-related talents? Do I spend enough time and attention on this? (#27)
  19. Am I in my right place in my job? How sure am I? (#28-29)
  20. What is my view on unemployment? (#30-31)
  21. What is my view on occupational disability? (#32)
  22. What is my view on physical or mental occupational impairment? (#33)
  23. What is my view on inability to work due to illness? (#34)?
  24. What is my view on retirement? (#35)
Table of contents