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By Dick Staub

Karl Barth was once asked to summarize the Bible's message on a postcard. Allegedly, he replied, "Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so." Here's my attempt at a postcard description of the dynamics of Christian career decision-making, whether you're just starting on your career path or well down the road and considering a job change.

Submitting to Jesus as Lord, you should manage the investment of your God-given talents in such a way that

* expresses those talents,
* uses them to provide for your needs and the needs
* of your household, and engages them in meeting God's agenda on earth.
This brief definition gets at some very basic issues:
  1. To whom are you accountable for your career decisions?

    The principle of LORDSHIP underscores God's ultimate authority over your life. The apostle Paul put it this way: "You are not your own, you've been bought with a price" (I Cor. 6:19-20). Unlike career decision-makers who ask only, "What do I want to do with my life?", the Christian's ultimate issue is "Will this career decision please God? Will it meet God's expectation for my life?"

  2. What does God expect you to do with your talents and abilities?

    Remember three key words: EXPRESSION, PROVISION, MISSION. God expects you to EXPRESS your talents in work that makes the highest and best use of your God-given talents and abilities (Exod. 35:30-35; Rom. 12:38). God expects you to use your talents to PROVIDE for your financial needs and those of your household (I Tim. 5:8). Finally, God expects you to invest your talents in work that advances his kingdom (MISSION). Mission involves general tasks to which all Christians are called (praying, living out Christian values, being prepared to express the reason for the hope that dwells within you). It also involves investing your talents in work that meets specific strategic needs and opportunities essential to advancing the kingdom in your life and times (Eph. 2: 1 0).

  3. Who is responsible for managing the mix of expression, provision and mission?

    You are!!! The biblical principle of stewardship (management) underscores your personal responsibility under Christ's Lordship to meet God's expectations (see the parable of the talents, Matt. 25). Many Christians are unhappy because their careers suffer from imbalances. Some examples? Big bucks and provision of your wildest wants-no mission, little expression of talents; lots of expression of talents-liftle mission or provision; lots of mission-failure to provide for needs or make good use of talents. Avoiding imbalances requires managing the mix!

  4. How do I manage the mix?

    First ask, "What am I seeking?" Jesus said you must seek his kingdom first, especially ahead of wealth (Matt. 6). To me this means mission is a critical priority. But even when looking for specific ways to meet God's agenda, you want to be mindful of your unique talents. You must ask: "What resources has God given me to serve him?" The identification, development and expression of your talent is essential to pleasing God. When maximum mission combined with maximum expression are your highest aim, provision becomes relative. While discussing this one day at lunch with the very visually-oriented Dick Bolles (author, What Color Is Your Parachute? ), we summarized these concepts with a graph drawn on a paper napkin. It combines what I've said here with Maslow's pyramid and demonstrates that what really drives the inside of the pyramid comes from a proper balance of expression, provision and mission. I hope the postcard definition and napkin graph help you on your way to good career decisions!



ï Expression - talents, design

ï Provision - needs of household

ï Mission - God's agenda

Goal = Maximum Expression + Maximum Mission

Dick Staub is host of the nationally syndicated "The Dick Staub Show," featuring lively, interactive discussion of national and international news, events and issues. Dick has held positions in executive management and marketing in the corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit arenas. His broad international experience includes conducting business in over 40 countries and serving on a Lausanne Committee task force. Dick is the co-author of "Career Kit" and authored articles appearing in Christianity Today, Christian Reader, Moody Magazine and others. Television appearances include Fox Network News, WGN News, the 700 Club, and others. Dick is a speaker and workshop leader and has spoken on over 25 college and seminary campuses. Dick is married and the father of four.