Living According to His Will
By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
Scripture Readings: James 4:13-17, James 5:1-6
Key Verses: James 4:13, 15, 17
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’”
“Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
As I read these verses in James, I thought about my own career and the jobs I have had, the circumstances of those jobs and why I left them, why I stayed when I stayed. More than once I have left a job because I had changed and the job no longer met my personal needs. This is probably the main reason people don’t stay in their jobs.
I spoke to a young colleague a few years ago and she felt she was being asked to do some things she thought were unethical. She worked in a different place than I did, but I advised her to search her heart and to ask herself if she misunderstood what was being asked of her, to clarify what the job responsibilities were, and if she felt that she was being asked to do something that was not ethical according to the practice standards of her profession, she should leave and find another job. Shortly after that I tried to contact her and was unable to because she had left that job.
I know a businessman who started his own business because he could no longer work for someone he considered to be dishonest and “evil,” someone whose life values were not the same as his own and impinged on his beliefs and how he thought business should be conducted. He left that job because of his values and his faith and never looked back. And he prospers today because of his honesty.
The scripture readings warn us to beware of greed, not to misuse our riches or talents for evil or for selfish reasons. James warns us to watch our behavior and our motives. We are not to abuse others who work for us in order to indulge our greed for money and things.
I believe that our jobs are reflections of ourselves. We spend a lot of time at work, so the work we do should be in keeping with our values. And even more than that, as Christians, we need to engage in work that is in keeping with the will of God.
I started a business myself, leaving a secure job without a paycheck to immediately follow. I stepped out in faith, believing that God was with me on this venture and that He would provide. The business is still young and I continue to ask God for direction. I also need to be open to changing what I am doing in a radical way if that is what God directs me to do. It’s His business, His plan for me, His stuff—I am just a steward. I have plans for the business and what I think are the right things to pursue but God may have something else in mind. If He does, He will reveal that in time and I have to be secure enough to allow Him to lead me and to do His will, not mine.
Prayer: Lord, may I follow your lead in all that I do. Your will be done. Amen