1. CHOOSING AN OCCUPATION
a. How does Scripture extol useful occupation? 2 Thessalonians 3:11, 12.
“The things of earth are more closely connected with heaven and are more directly under the supervision of Christ than many realize. All right inventions and improvements have their source in Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. The skillful touch of the physician’s hand, his power and nerve and muscle, his knowledge of the delicate mechanism of the body, is the wisdom of divine power, to be used in behalf of the suffering. The skill with which the carpenter uses his tools, the strength with which the blacksmith makes the anvil ring, come from God. Whatever we do, wherever we are placed, He desires to control our minds, that we may do perfect work.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 277.
b. Name one of the worst curses to society, and one of the greatest blessings. 2 Thessalonians 3:10; Proverbs 10:16.
“One of the surest safeguards against evil is useful occupation, while idleness is one of the greatest curses; for vice, crime, and poverty follow in its wake. Those who are always busy, who go cheerfully about their daily tasks, are the useful members of society.”—Ibid., p.275.
2. ACCEPTABLE SERVICE
a. In choosing an occupation, what factors should be considered? How do our capabilities determine our place in life? Give examples. Philippians 2:14, 15.
“As regards life’s possibilities, who is capable of deciding what is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has achieved results that kings might envy! . . .
“The specific place appointed us in life is determined by our capabilities. Not all reach the same development or do with equal efficiency the same work. God does not expect the hyssop to attain the proportions of the cedar, or the olive the height of the stately palm. But each should aim just as high as the union of human with divine power makes it possible for him to reach.
“Many do not become what they might, because they do not put forth the power that is in them. They do not, as they might, lay hold on divine strength. Many are diverted from the line in which they might reach the truest success. Seeking greater honor or a more pleasing task, they attempt something for which they are not fitted. Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.
“We need to follow more closely God’s plan of life. To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.”—Education, pp. 266, 267.
b. Whatever our talents and calling, what is the most important aspect of our lifework? Hebrews 6:10.
“Pure, sanctified love, such love as was expressed in Christ’s lifework, is as a sacred perfume. Like Mary’s broken box of ointment, it fills the whole house with fragrance.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 84.
3. WORK ETHICS
a. Regardless of our specific occupation, what should be our goal with reference to our work? 1 Corinthians 3:12–14; 2 Thessalonians 2:17.
“God will not put His superscription upon the work of any man, high or low, rich or poor, that is not done heartily, faithfully, and with an eye single to His glory.”—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 128, 129.
b. What is the Christian’s work ethic? Colossians 3:22–24.
“Practical religion is to be carried into the lowly duties of daily life. The greatest qualification for any man is to obey implicitly the word of the Lord.
“Because they are not connected with some directly religious work, many feel that their lives are useless; that they are doing nothing for the advancement of God’s kingdom. But this is a mistake. If their work is that which someone must do, they should not accuse themselves of uselessness in the great household of God. The humblest duties are not to be ignored. Any honest work is a blessing, and faithfulness in it may prove a training for higher trusts.
“However lowly, any work done for God with a full surrender of self is as acceptable to Him as the highest service. No offering is small that is given with true-heartedness and gladness of soul.
“Wherever we may be, Christ bids us take up the duty that presents itself. If this is in the home, take hold willingly and earnestly to make home a pleasant place. If you are a mother, train your children for Christ. This is as verily a work for God as is that of the minister in the pulpit. If your duty is in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food that will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing. And as you employ the best ingredients in preparing food remember that you are to give your mind the best thoughts. If it is your work to till the soil or to engage in any other trade or occupation, make a success of the present duty. Put your mind on what you are doing. In all your work represent Christ. Do as He would do in your place.
“However small your talent, God has a place for it. That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on the plan of addition, and God will work for us on the plan of multiplication. These littles will become the most precious influences in His work.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 359, 360.
4. THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK
a. What is the highest work in which a Christian can engage? Matthew 28:19, 20; Psalm 96:3.
“The work above all work—the business above all others which should draw and engage the energies of the soul—is the work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Make this the main, the important work of your life. Make it your special lifework. Cooperate with Christ in this grand and noble work, and become home and foreign missionaries. Be ready and efficient to work at home or in far-off climes for the saving of souls. Work the works of God, and demonstrate your faith in your Saviour by toiling for others. O that young and old were thoroughly converted to God, and would take up the duty that lies next them, and work as they have opportunity, becoming laborers together with God! Should this come to pass, multitudes of voices would show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.”—The Youth’s Instructor, May 4, 1893.
“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 195.
b. Why is the missionary full of joy at his or her labor? Luke 15:6, 7; Psalm 51:12, 13.
“The conversion of souls to God is the greatest, the noblest work in which human beings can have a part. In this work are revealed God’s power, His holiness, His forbearance, and His unbounded love. Every true conversion glorifies Him and causes the angels to break forth into singing.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 52.
“We can have no higher joy than to be laborers together with God, rescuing souls from the slavery of sin; and upbuilding the kingdom of Christ. This joy is Christ’s joy, and every soul who partakes of it has his joy full. Again and again we may drink of this fountain of joy, and rejoice in it, knowing that no other joy can bear any comparison to it.”—The Review and Herald, February 13, 1894.
5. OTHER OCCUPATIONS
a. How can we implement the work of soul-saving in various Christian occupations? Ephesians 4:28; 1 Corinthians 15:58.
(1) Medical Work. “There is no missionary field more important than that occupied by the faithful, God-fearing physician.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 448.
(2) Business. “There is need of businessmen who will weave the grand principles of truth into all their transactions. . . . [Daniel] was a sample of what every businessman may be.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 350, 351.
(3) Teachers. “Teachers are needed, especially for the children.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 201.
(4) Other Employment. “Real happiness is found only in being good and doing good. . . . No honest work is degrading.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 5, 1901.
b. How does God view wealth honestly gained? Deuteronomy 8:18.
“The Bible does not condemn the rich man because he is rich; it does not declare the acquisition of wealth to be a sin, nor does it say that money is the root of all evil. On the contrary, the Scriptures state that it is God who gives the power to get wealth. And this ability is a precious talent if consecrated to God and employed to advance His cause. The Bible does not condemn genius or art; for these come of the wisdom which God gives. We cannot make the heart purer or holier by clothing the body in sackcloth, or depriving the home of all that ministers to comfort, taste, or convenience.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 138.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can we benefit from useful labor?
2. What factors should influence our choice of occupation?
3. How can one use his or her occupation as a blessing?
4. In what lifework can we all have a taste? Why is it such a delight?
5. Give some examples of wonderful opportunities for soul-saving.