Something I learnt while working as an economist in Canberra is that you can have the best policy ideas in the world, but don’t bother if you can’t think through the transition of taking them from A (an idea) to B (a practical reality).
Unintended consequences, resistance to implementation and unforeseen costs can quickly scuttle legitimately good things from happening. Similarly, when hearing a call to serve God in some new way it’s important to work through how you will go from A to B. Remember, God is acutely aware of our reality in the world he has created and preserves.
Of course, thinking through the transition might not just relate to a career change. It could just be taking on a new volunteer role in your parish or considering some other life change. Whatever your scenario, here are some things for you and your study group to ponder from the word of God.
You have wrestled in prayer with this change. But who else have you consulted?
Consider Proverbs 27:6 and 15:22. What do they suggest about being ready for some good questions and genuine challenges? Are you ready for that and which godly people can you consult and pray with? What can we learn about whom to talk with from John 3:1–2a, Acts 15:6, Luke 1:39–56? Moreover, have you honoured your family and heard their concerns and joys? See Genesis 2:20b–24; Psalm 127; Ecclesiastes 4:12.
Sometimes as part of seeking a change, we make demands on others to satisfy our desires and feed our idols.
What can we learn not to do from the story of King Ahab and Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21:1–29)?
Moreover, have you explored why God might want you to stay in your current vocation? What do 1 Kings 4:1–6 and Romans 12:3–8 suggest about God gifting you for your current vocation?
Have you realistically assessed the costs and your long-term sustainability in God’s service? What messages do you take out of Luke 14:28–35?
The costs of working or volunteering in ministry may or may not put you off from such a vocational move – either way, it will not all be a ‘dream’.
How do Acts 9:16 (see 9:1–19) and 2 Corinthians 11:21–29 show this? What comfort does God promise us in Mark 10:35–45 and 2 Corinthians 12:6–10?
While God made time and gives it to us, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to know when to start something new. Am I rushing? Why is it so slow to begin?
Read Luke 10:38–42. What insights do Martha, Mary and Jesus offer us?
Have you slowed down to sit at the Lord’s feet and be taught by him in this situation of change, and how does he challenge your list of wants?
Then compare John 11:17–22. What can we learn about our impatience and worry?
There can seem to be insurmountable mountains to our plans. Financial. Relational. Logistical. Regrets over lost investment in education and career experience. When I moved to full-time theological study in Adelaide from a senior economic policy advising role in Canberra my family and I prayed, based on Isaiah 40:3b–4, that the Lord would make the highway straight, raise the valleys and lower mountains. That he did!
How could you turn the following scriptures into prayer about your concerns? Matthew 6:24–34; 7:24–27; 14:22–32; Psalm 34.
Matt Bishop was an economist in the Australian Government Treasury for over a decade before taking a senior executive role in the Department of Finance then becoming a pastor of the LCANZ. Pastor Matt currently serves among the community of St Paul Lutheran Church Blair Athol in SA.