Something is Following You
When I was a teenager, I remember sitting in my grandfather’s living room discussing the possible career opportunities that lie before me. My grandfather was a thinker, a planner, a talker—just like me and I loved being in his presence.
I spent every single day after school at my maternal grandparents’ home, and my grandfather and I would sit and talk for what sometimes seemed like hours.
We would talk or deliberate anywhere, actually—
- in the car on the way to Byrd’s grocery store (which he frequented, daily)
- at the kitchen table (where he could use the salt and pepper shaker and napkin holder as props for his colorful demonstrations)
- on the front porch (while we sailed back and forth in my favorite yellow swing)
- in the front yard (as he smoked his cigarette leaning on the banister—my grandmother abhorred smoking in the house)
- and of course, in the living room (where he sat like King Hughie in his favorite chair).
The only thing that would impede upon our favorite pastime would be a plea from my grandmother to “Leave that girl alone, Hughie” or my grandmother’s I’m-not-going-to-call-y’all-again-for-dinner-demand from the kitchen.
My sweet grandmother loved to hear us talk, but sometimes our discussion trickled over into a Biblical debate that I looked forward to, but obviously made her think I was being mentally and emotionally drained.
Back to the Career Opportunities, Right?
Well, on this particular day, my grandfather and I discussed how I might choose a lucrative career based on my God-given abilities.
He felt that since my mother had not allowed me to pursue getting on Star Search or the Apollo or some talent show that would catapult me into the music industry–the only two secure and profitable jobs that I should consider were being an attorney or a computer programmer. (Mind you, this was the 80’s and those WERE the hottest jobs of the day. Well, of course, being a doctor would have fit the bill; but, my deep-rooted loathing of science made that an unlikely option.)
My grandfather believed that my skill in mathematics and writing, coupled with my love for philosophy and a good debate were indicators that I would be excellent in law or computer programming.
When I told him that I thought being a teacher would be more suitable for my personality, he looked at me as if I were hanging onto a very thin strand of sanity that was just about to break.
“A teacher?” He replied in disgust. “Why in the world would you want to do that? Girl, you are too smart for that!!!” He believed that being a teacher was beneath me. In his lifetime, it had been one of only a few occupations Black women could choose from and he thought it was time for us to do more. He also knew that teaching was not the celebrated profession it had been when he was growing up and that those who trod down that path would live a life of barely getting by.
Even still, I stood my ground, as I often did in our talks, in a respectful manner, of course. (I wasn’t quite that crazy, yet.) But, deep inside, I knew that my grandfather did not approve. He wanted so much more for me.
I absolutely understood where he was coming from, but could not fight what I believed to be nudging at my heart. In my head, I kept thinking, “Teaching is my thing and I guess I will just have to waste this “brain” of mine on that lowly profession.”
Reversing the Chase
But there was something that my grandfather, as wise as he was, did not tell me. He did not tell me that chasing the lucrative career first and then fitting my talents into its mold was not the way to do it ( although, inherently, I think I knew it.)
Instead, it was best that I discover who I really was and what God had summoned me to accomplish in this world. In pursuing God’s best for my life, even in the area of my career, everything else that I needed would FOLLOW me.
In other words, I would not have to chase money or choose a profession based upon the annual salary and benefits it afforded; but that I would have more than enough when I focused on God’s purpose and plan.
By seeking His kingdom first, He would add ALL those THINGS unto me. (Matthew 6: 19-34) I would not have to worry period because He promised to provide everything that I needed.
I love this teaching in Matthew because it is when Jesus explains what I’m calling The Reversal of The Chase.
This passage goes against everything many of us are taught about choosing a career, working a job, or even starting a business.
It is so comforting because earlier in the chapter, Jesus was teaching on how we cannot serve both God and money. He also explains that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (v. 21).” But, He then goes on to let us know that when we seek the kingdom of God first, money and the things it provides will be added unto us.
Therefore, there is no need for us to feel like if we serve God we are going to go without or if we focus on Him, we are going to be in a state of lack. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
What I Now Know
So, yes, I was right. Teaching is my calling–not law, not computer programming.
However, God is taking me to another level or should I say another dimension with this gift and I am enjoying the ride. It seems that the years of serving in the public school system for very little compensation as a teacher were not in vain. The higher education was not in vain, either. They have both prepared me for this very hour and for that, I think my grandfather would be proud.
The Take-Away for You
This concept might sound spooky-deep to you and you may be thinking, “God could care less what you and I chose to do for a profession,” but you could not be further from the truth.
God has called us all to do something in the Body of Christ. We all have work to do–work that leads others to know the love and fullness of God.
Even as we are sharing our gifts as businessmen and businesswomen, we are being used by God.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
I Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)
The most beautiful thing about this is that whatever you have been called to do is embedded deep inside of you by God. You may already know what it is or perhaps, you may need help identifying it. But, guess what?
As soon as you begin pursuing it, unapologetically, chasing things will be so unnecessary, because those THINGS will have no choice but to FOLLOW you.
Peace and Blessings,
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