Finding the "Perfect" Second Job
Because of Jesus' work of reconciliation in his people, Paul tells us that our new identity is "ministers of reconciliation." He further says that God doesn't just save individual souls, but is "reconciling the world to himself" and gives us both the ministry and message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-20). The point is this: we have the opportunity to carry out the ministry God gave us, and reflect God's work of reconciliation, as we do our jobs, both inside and outside the church. Obviously, we want to see souls reconciled to God, but what jobs can we find to partner in God's reconciliation of the whole world?
If we think a bit, we can find redemptive elements in nearly any job. Take the examples above: one elder fixes hurting bodies. Another finds broken elements of companies and makes them better. I see students overcome fear and doubt, and increase confidence in the abilities God gave them. Even a smile and warm coffee on a cold winter day can reflect a deeper joy, even if for a brief moment. In nearly any job our motivation can be to echo God's redemption, to see brokenness reconciled, and to proclaim the gospel's work in our words and our deeds.
Trust God and display the gospel
If you asked our team of bi-vocational elders, they would each tell you that their second jobs fit multiple (if not all six) of these categories. Our situations aren't unique; many opportunities exist that we simply overlook.
If we believe that God is sovereign and good, and that his Spirit is "our Helper," the first step into the perfect second job is to seek that promised help. Begin with prayer. Whether an opportunity doesn't seem real, you simply don't think it exists, or you're debating which of these six categories you should prioritize, don't rely on God's help only as a last-ditch option.
But neither can we stop with prayer. We need to exercise wisdom in the pursuit of skillful, balanced ministry. If we believe the Bible—that all money is God's and that the entire body is called to minister, use our gifts, and live out God's mission—then every Christian, no matter their occupation, is really a vocational minister. Sometimes God chooses to support his people's ministry, full-time or part-time, through the church organization. Sometimes he sends it to his people through other channels. But the bottom line is that each of the six categories above reflects a different element of God's goodness, provision, and joy. So the two biggest questions as we pursue the perfect second job are, Do I trust that goodness, provision, and joy, even in my search for a second job? and, How can I best display the gospel, in my life, to my church, and in my job(s)?
Once we answer those two questions, we'll be one step closer to finding the right jobs to pair with our pastoral callings.
Ben Connelly is pastor of The City Church in Fort Worth, Texas and teaches public speaking at Texas Christian University.
Copyright © 2013 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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