After the decision to trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior, the two most important decisions that our children would have to make is the choice of a spouse and the choice of a career. Today, we will look at choosing a career. The starting point in choosing a career is choosing a college course. In his inspirational talk during the thanksgiving dinner for our graduation in seminary, Dr. Narry Santos of Saddleback South Manila shared with us how he helped one of his children to choose a course. He gave her these criterion:
Don’t choose what is good. Choose what is best. Don’t choose a course that you like. Choose that which you love. Don’t choose a course that would make you rich. Choose that which would make you enrich others.
I came across something similar to that which I tell people who are just about to start a career or are thinking of switching careers. I believe it is also applicable to our children.I believe that the choice of our career is connected to our calling. So, I share the C.A.L.L. acronym.
“C” stands for “Counsel of others.” According to Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Emphasis added) Other than talking to us, we should also help our children to talk to professionals in the field that they are considering. That way they would know how it would like if they pursue this career path.
“A” is for “Abilities.” 1 Peter 4:10 tells us, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”. (Emphasis added) We need to sit down with our kids and help them take an inventory of their skills, talents and gifts. A talent is inborn. When we are born, we already have at least one. A skill is developed. A spiritual gift is Spirit-given, that is, our children received it from the Holy Spirit when they believed in the Lord. It would actually give them an important clue on choosing the course that they would love and not just like.
“L” is for “Longing.” What is your child’s passion? What does he or she really like to do? King David exclaimed, “May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!” (Psalm 20:4) God can grant the desires and plans of our children. One problem is when we insist that our children would fulfill our dreams, not theirs! If our child is good in math, then encourage him or her to pursue a math-related course. That could offer a clue as to what course to choose. When people ask me what career to pursue, I ask them questions like, “If money is not a problem, what do you like to do?” “What is it that you love to do that you would do even if you are not paid to do it?”
Lastly, “L” is for “Lifestyle.” This is related to longing. What is it that they are presently doing? For example, there are people who want to be a missionary. But when we ask them if they have witnessed to their next-door neighbor, they answered, “No.” So, how could they serve as missionaries? Though it primarily talks about money, Luke 16:10 is related to this principle: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” So, we have to list down the school activities or church programs where our children excelled (and enjoyed) doing, for example. Then, we have to help them discern what course to take.
There are times we choose the college course for our children because we think the career they would end up with would be financially rewarding. There is nothing wrong with looking for a high-paying job. Of course, if we do a great job, we should be rewarded. But, that’s like putting the cart before the horse. I love what Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
“Making the Most” Step
Review the C.A.L.L. acronym and think of the college course that your children want to take (that is, if you still have children who are not yet in college). Does the course fit his or her C.A.L.L.? (NOTE: This acronym can also help you advise your children who are already professionals when they are considering a career change.)
NOTE: This is Day Four of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 7) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message on “Pass It On! (Part 2)” last April 12.