MAKING JESUS KNOWN VIA YOUR CAREER PLATFORM
A veteran Nigerian Christian Writer Gbile Akanni asserts that, “The time of youth is the prime time in anyone’s life. It is a great privilege to be young. Youth is the ‘yesteryears’ of old age. The time of youth is also a period of making choices, encountering peculiar challenges and laying foundations (good or bad) for the future; choices that make indelible marks on one’s life and destiny. The unfortunate thing about these choices is that whether they were made consciously or unconsciously, they are often irreversible.”
Part of the choices all youths have to make, and which must be made rightly to prevent dying unfulfilled is choice of their life career. Thorough research readily reveals that career education in our schools (primary and secondary) suffers a serious neglect. Sequel to this, many students are ignorant of the knowledge and information that would enable them to make informed decision regarding what career line to choose.
WHAT IS CAREER?
Over the years, volumes were written on the meaning of career by many authors. Acknowledging the works of these authors require me to relay, examine, analyze as well as comment on some of their definitions and thereby come up with the better view we should have about life career.
A renowned Nigerian Political scientist and communicator, Al ChukwumaOkoli in his book asserts that, “Career refers to the sequence of similar jobs, occupation and position occupied during a person’s working life. Simply put, career is one’s trade, occupation or profession as well as progress or advancement in these areas of human activity. Career is an important activity in people’s lives. It demands one’s best effort and commitment. It takes a lot of one’s time and concern. It gives purpose and order to life by giving one something definite to do at certain times during the day and week.”
Through his definition, Okoli notes that your career will carry with it some challenges, responsibilities, demands, expectations, as well as privileges and opportunities. It gives role, status and relevance to individuals in the society. Also he opined that, generally, career has the following characteristics:
– It is a way of making a living.
– It is a full-time activity.
– It leads to self-development and self-actualization.
– It leads to socio-economic progress or advancement.
– It accords one certain social role, status and recognition.
Therefore, with Okoli’s definition and explanations, one could easily conclude that career has synonyms in the following terms: Vocation, Occupation, Profession, Work, Business, Job, Trade and Employment.
Besides, Super (1975) defined ‘Career’ as “the combination and sequence of all the roles you may play during your life-time and pattern in which they fit together at any point in time.” Also, Weijer and Meijer (1996) sees career as “the totality of man’s experience in the world of work and education.”
All the quoted and analyzed career definitions are wonderful and appropriate. Meanwhile, the definitions failed to explore a dimension of the meaning of career. This unique dimension is what we are going to examine at this juncture. Please pay a concentrated attention to what we are about to explore.
CAREER: THE MEANS TO FULFILL YOUR LIFE DESTINY
A man’s career is a means to an end; it is not an end in itself. Your chosen career is the means to fulfill your life destiny. God created, packaged, equipped and sent you to earth for a definite purpose; you are sent on earth to accomplish a specific and unique purpose. Life is like acting a drama script. God had already planned what each of us would be before we were born; we all came to existence to act (bring to physical) what He had written for us. God told Jeremiah, one of the major prophets of Israel that, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) The quoted Bible passage notes that there is a certain divine predestination appointed for each of God’s creation to accomplish with God while on earth. Before each of us was born into this world, God knew us; He is the one who formed us in our mother’s womb. He sanctified and ordained each of us for different but specific purposes. Hence, nobody is a mistake on earth, regardless of how each of us was born.
Now, the career you are about chosen or that you are already engaged in is the divine means designed by your maker through which you are expected to accomplish the exact purpose of your living. God expects that through or by the means of your chosen career you will easily, gallantly and joyfully fulfill why you were born. When the understanding of this principle rightly sink into your heart, your former unbalanced view about what career means will practically change. You will no longer view your career as merely what you were trained and engaged in to earn money, amass wealth, gain social prestige, status and self-actualization. You will also stop projecting and approaching your chosen career as merely what keep you busy during the work hours.
EXAMPLE FOR FURTHER EXPLANATION
- Adam (See Genesis 2:7-15).
- Bezalel, Aholiab and every gifted artisan in the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan (See Exodus 36: 1-4).
A fitting example of this was that of Bezalel, Aholiab and every gifted artisan in the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, who indeed used their profession to build the first sanctuary for God according to the Jew’s history (see Exodus 36: 1-4). Pure and Applied Arts was actually their profession, and they used it as the right means (channel) of fulfilling their destiny of being the designer and builder of the first physical sanctuary of the God of their fathers in the wilderness.
- Samson Ola
For further explanation on this, I will raise a practical life experience of one of my beloved elder brother, whose name is stated above. In a candid discussion with him, he exposed that he had earlier concluded that being a lecturer in a foremost University in the south western part of Nigeria is his life destiny. But, to his amazement, God later intimated him that he was raised and divinely arranged to be in lecturing career line in order to be guide for teenagers and youths. “It was only then I understand my life purpose, and also that one’s life career is different from life purpose.” He concluded.
- A University Professor in one of the historical Universities in Nigeria
Furthermore, I was also told the story of a University Professor in one of the historical Universities in Nigeria, who had being in lecturing profession for more than one decade. Thinking that he was already a fulfilled man by being a respected lecturer, he was giving the greatest shock of his life when God told Him that he had wasted his years and the opportunity he was giving to attain the academic height he had reached. He later realized that he was divinely expected to be using his influence as a senior lecturer to touch and mentor the lives of some students both within and outside the campus.
- George Janvier, an Associate Professor raised in USA, a pure white man, came to Nigeria to pick up a lecturing job with ECWA Theological Seminary since 1990 when he realized his life destiny is to touch the lives of some black Nigerian positively through lecturing. Besides, when he came, he chose to stay at the Northern part of the country because he knew that was the right location for the fulfillment of his destiny.
- The last example I will raise is that of Mary Slessor, a historical white Missionary, who decided to sacrifice the comfort her dear country supplied her and even her profession to come, suffer and eventually die in Nigeria some years ago. She risked her life to rescue the lives of the twins that were being murdered out of pure ignorance. She was able to do this because she understood the clear difference between life purpose and one’s chosen career.
PRACTICAL WAYS OF MAKING HIM KNOWN IN YOUR CAREER
- KNOW HIM AND MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN TO HIM
This is basic. There is no way a man could witness – speak about someone whom he hasn’t known. Hence, knowing Jesus through salvation encounter is an uncompromised rudimentary requirement for whoever will eventually witness (reveal) Him through his career and by whatever other means. The need for salvation experience cannot be overemphasis for genuine disciples who will use their career as a platform to present and witness Jesus to the decayed and deceived generation of ours. Haven known Him through salvation, you need to consciously make yourself known to Him through relationship.
- DEVELOP PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
Next to the crucial issue of salvation in the process of making Jesus known through your career is that of personal relationship with Him, which has to be deliberately developed. Let’s take a cue from 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Knowing Jesus does not stop at salvation, rather, it continues in our daily personal relationship with Him. As we keep beholding Him with unveiled face in personal Bible study, meditation, prayer … we know Him better, become more like Him and will be able to witness Him boldly wherever we are.
- BE HIS DISCIPLE
Beside personal relationship with Jesus, another means of knowing Jesus better and through which one could be prepared better to witness Him through the platform of one’s career is discipleship. In discipleship you unlearn all what you might have learned all along as you grow up to learn only Jesus as a core course. Those who passed through discipleship have the potential of being fishers of men. In fact, a major goal of discipleship is to make disciples His witnesses. Jesus says, “…follow me and I will make you fisher of men.”
- ENGAGE IN PRACTICAL WITNESSING
Having being discipled, you need to make strategic plan of how you will practically witness Jesus through your chosen career. The truth you need to accept is, you don’t need to vacate your profession to witness Jesus. Your chosen career is the major platform through which God expects you to witness Jesus to your generation. For instance, a Christian Journalist could use his expertise to write tracts, booklets, books, periodicals as well as edit Christian literatures. A Christian Nurse need to identify every patient in his or her ward as the audience he/she needs to witness Jesus to through practical lifestyle and verbal witnessing. Likewise, Christian Medical Doctors should also view each patient that visits them in office as their audience. Furthermore, Christian administrators, Lawyers and judges, engineers etc. should also view their clients and colleagues as their audience. Christian Lecturers should view their students and other colleague as the audience they are expected to witness Jesus unto.
- DEVELOP FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
This is the last point I will talk on. Soul winning is the business of wise men. Witnessing or revealing Jesus through the platform of your chosen career in the postmodern world we find ourselves in demands creative initiatives. And the truth is, the Holy Spirit is the source of all awesome creative ideas. But He don’t use to give His marvelous creative initiatives to just anybody, He use to give it to those who take time to develop conscious fellowship with Him. Hence, availing yourself some time to develop continuous fellowship with the Holy Spirit will save you from being traditional in witness or presenting Jesus through your profession.
Dear brethren, the traditional way of witnessing Jesus is not the only means by which God expect us to witness Him to our generation. The fact is, the postmodernism beliefs of our day had made people wearied of the traditional witnessing methods. Now, God seeks to have people in different career fields who will be representing and witnessing for Him through the platform of their profession. To hasting the speed of the end-time harvest, all Christian,especially Christian students need to be enlightened about the spirituality in their respective chosen career. We need to start seen our individual chosen career as the platform by which we are to represent, witness and showcase Jesus to our generation. May the Lord help you to rise to this noble responsibility.
By Sola Alabi