Is it Biblical to Choose a Job You Love?

It’s almost silly to even ask that question. It’s like asking “Is it biblical to chose a spouse that you actually want to be with?” Yes, of course it is. Why would you marry someone you don’t want to marry? Likewise, if you have the choice (and we do much more often than we realize), why would you chose a job you aren’t excited about?

In fact, Paul’s teaching on marriage is actually a helpful analogy here, because it gives us a principle. In regard to marriage, he says: “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). So marriage is an area of freedom — marry whom you want (as long as they are a Christian). In other words, what you want to do is not only a legitimate consideration; you are free to make your choice on that basis.

In fact, Paul goes further: “Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God” (v. 40). Now, at first it doesn’t sound like he’s going further, because he is actually recommending in this case that a widow not remarry. He’s not forbidding remarriage, but just recommending against it in this case. My point here is not to discuss whether it is better to marry or not. Rather, here’s the important point: Paul’s reason for his advice here is that she will be happier if she remains as she is.

In other words, your happiness is a valid and legitimate consideration in making life decisions. Paul is suggesting that she actually would be happier not to remarry. Again, the issue of whether someone should get married or not is not my point here. My point here is that, remarkably, Paul considers happiness a fully legitimate consideration in making the major life choice of whether to marry and whom to marry. In fact, it actually seems to be the primary consideration in the decision, since his entire reason for recommending singleness here is that this path would, he argues, result in greater happiness.

If happiness is a legitimate consideration in choosing a spouse, then it would also seem to follow that happiness is a legitimate consideration in making other life decisions as well, such as where you work and what you do for a living.

I’m not saying that there aren’t more things to take into account. But enjoying your work and having a job that suits you is a right and good and significant consideration in choosing your work.

Tomorrow I’ll give an example of what this looks like.

  • Joel j

    Thanks much for this article. It is very helpful as I currently seek a position, and it feels like a load off of my shoulders. Remembering God’s grace can do that! I am sure there are times when we are called to not be ‘happy’ in a narrow sense (e.g., Jonah called to Ninevah), but as a general rule, this is a comforting reminder.

  • Charlie Waldburger

    Matt, we connected previously when I was on staff with Mars Hill and The Resurgence. Had to comment on this post today, as I have never heard a clearer, more compelling case for happiness being an acceptable reason in life choices. To most of us, it’s seemed obvious, but unsupported. Thanks for this!

  • Joel j

    Brings to mind Haddon Robinson’s Decision Making by the Book — a very helpful handbook for making career or life choices.

  • Kevin Behringer

    Thank you so much for this post. So often, the response I get when I explain to people that I’m unhappy with my job is either, “well, at least you have a job…lots of people can’t say that,” or “it’s good for Christian men to work. That’s why they call it work. You don’t have to like it…just provide for your family.”

    While I certainly don’t want to shirk responsibility, I just can’t imagine that Christians are just supposed to slog through a job they can’t stand while there are so many people out there find fulfilling, enjoyable work.


  • Nathan W. Bingham

    A really helpful post that challenges a lot of Christian thinking out there. Thanks Matt.

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  • Wendy McMahan

    Wow, Matt. I like this analogy. Do you have “aha” moments that you know will stick with you for the rest of your life? This is an “aha” moment for me.