Take just a moment and try to imagine your ideal occupation.
If salary, practicality, and training weren't factors, what would you like to spend at least 40 hours a week doing? At the very core of your being, what are you interested in? What is your true passion? Travel? Art? Adventure?
God knows what you're passionate about, more than you ever will. He is fully aware of what makes you tick and he is intimately familiar with your personality. He knows your every interest, your every thought, and all of your quirks – he did create you after all, didn't he?
But consider this: what if God placed you in an environment where your passions were stifled? A place where your natural talents, interests, and gifts seemed to be unused or undervalued. A place where you, in nearly every way, were uncomfortable.
To be clear, I am not referring to the six week overseas mission trip where you were temporarily taken outside of your "comfort zone," though God certainly works through such experiences.Instead, I am referring to the type of calling that places you in an occupation, an environment, or a location, that requires months, years, or possibly even a lifetime of uncomfortable commitment.
But doesn't God want to use our gifts for his glory? Didn't he create us with abilities that allow us to serve him in unique and amazing ways that bring us fulfilling joy?
Yes, he did.
So what kind of God would intentionally put someone in an environment that was not conducive to his or her abilities? The same God who allowed a man named Daniel to be led into captivity. Literally snatched from his homeland, Daniel was brought before an idol-worshipping king who stood in complete defiance to the God of Israel, and he was commanded to serve this king.
Surely this wasn't Daniel's "dream job." Never in Scripture do we read that King Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel what his passions were, or what he had a desire to do with his life.Yet we read in Daniel 1:2 that God allowed the king of Judah to be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, which lead to Daniel's captivity.
The God who loved Daniel and created him with a unique set of gifts and talents allowed him to be placed in an ungodly environment that stood completely contrary to virtually everything that defined him. He was told what to eat, where to live, what to learn, and who to worship by men who were enemies of God.
And yet, in spite of all of this, God was somehow able to glorify himself through Daniel's work. As Daniel was serving this worldly king, he was simultaneously serving the one true King. Without compromising a single moral, and without letting himself become defiled by worldliness, Daniel completed his occupational tasks in a way that caused his life to reflect the work of an ingenious Creator.
Before he was taken into captivity, Daniel may have never had the desire to interpret the dreams of a king. And he almost certainly didn't apply for a job that would require him to dumped into a pit of lions! But through each and every one of these instances Daniel allowed the situation to be used for God's glory.
What we see exemplified through Daniel's life is an obedience to God that is not dependent on the circumstances. He did not wait for an ideal job in an ideal location working for an ideal leader. Through an unshakeable faith, an unwavering obedience, and a constant commitment to his calling, Daniel worshipped God through situations that were far less than ideal.
Once again, God has given each and every one of his children gifts and talents that are to be used to his glory. But it is dangerous to assume that any situation,occupation, or environment that does not perfectly mesh with our personality traits is not of God.
God calls us to worship him through our work. But not once did he command us to wait until the ideal job was dropped in our lap before we began to serve him.
What if God puts you somewhere uncomfortable just so that you can see how trustworthy he is? Instead of placing you in a situation where you could rely on your own wits and abilities, what if God used you to do things that were possible only through his Spirit.
What if the only place where you could experience real, fulfilling joy was a place of complete dependence on the One who created you?
Written by Ben Samples former CoPassion Intern