If You are Discontent with Your Job, Maybe You Should Consider Missions

I’ve been talking for the last couple of days on the value of having a job that you love. If you aren’t content in your current job, of course, the first thing to consider is how you might be able to craft it and shape it in a way that is more in line with your strengths.

But if the discontent remains, perhaps it’s worth considering something radical. Something more radical than just switching jobs. Maybe it’s worth thinking about missions.

I’m not suggesting here that secular employment or a non-profit or ministry role in the US is less valuable than doing missions. Rather, I’m just suggesting that, if you are discontent in your job and the discontent tends to remain, it’s worth considering missions as one of the possibilities for what’s next.

Here’s how John Piper puts it at the end of Don’ t Waste Your Life:

The Meaning of Your Discontent

Many of you should stay where you are in your present job, and simply ponder how you can fit your particular skills and relationships and resources more strategically into the global purposes of your heavenly Father.

But for others reading this book, it is going to be different. Many of you are simply not satisfied with what you are doing. As J. Campbell White said, the output of your lives is not satisfying your deepest spiritual ambitions.

We must be careful here. Every job has its discouragements and its seasons of darkness. We must not interpret such experiences automatically as a call to leave our post.

But if the discontent with your present situation is deep, recurrent, and lasting, and if that discontent grows in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work. If, in your discontent, you long to be holy, to walk pleasing to the Lord, and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life, then God may indeed be loosening your roots in order to transplant you to a place and a ministry where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied.

It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation; but when he deploys you from one place to the next, he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship. God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace. . . .

Big issues are in the offing. May God help you. May God free you. May God give you a fresh, Christ-exalting vision for your life — whether you go to an unreached people or stay firmly and fruitfully at your present post. May your vision get its meaning from God’s great purpose to make the nations glad in him. May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

  • staffaction

    From personal experience – I can empathize here.

    I also think a strong addendum needs to be added: Scott Morton, in “Funding your ministry”, urges newcomers to the ministry or to missions to not just do so to relieve oneself of a sticky situation be it job, relationship, etc. What’s more, after making such a decision, one may certainly have peace, for a time – who wouldn’t have some peace after deciding to leave a miserable job though? So yes, missions may be what God is leading some to but one ought to be sure of the call and not just running from a difficult situation though that is where God desires them.

    Thanks for posting – that passage from DWYL is very good reminder.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I can see what you’re saying. I know some who have been struggling in mediocre jobs and toyed with the idea of giving it all up to go into missions. But for them, the main reason was that being in missions allowed them to justify a low paycheck. They idolized money, weren’t making what they wanted to, and figured that missions would allow them to save face. It was about preserving their pride. It was self-service, really.

  • http://www.juliansabroad.com Dan

    This is a great post!

    DWYL was one of the motivators for my wife and I to consider missions in the first place, and then a growing sense of discontentment with working at the jobs we had been pursuing (high school teacher, Philosophy professor) led us to devote several weeks to pray for God to make clear to us if He would have us stay or go. It became clear to both of us that we should go. God uses discontentment for His glory and our good!

  • http://justopenthebook.com David Edmisten

    Prayer is so vital in this. If one is praying for God to reveal His call on their life – before, during and after a particular job, discontentment or opportunity – the communication with God should give peace and provide clarity. Discontentment may mean another call, but through prayer, God should already be revealing character issues and hearts desires that make the idea of missions a confirmation.

    Personally, I would start in any discontented situation to ask God to reveal the source of my discontentment. It may be sin or improper attitudes in my own heart that are the source. If not, then I trust that if God has a new purpose for me, he will reveal it through Scripture, prayer, and the counsel of other believers.