Provision to Passion to Purpose
I began my career as an aerospace engineer because I like airplanes. However, it didn’t take me long to discover that I had chosen the wrong path because aerospace engineering wouldn’t satisfy the entrepreneurial spirit God created in me.
After some thought and a few years of working as an engineer, I decided to transition into the business world to work with people and increase my earning capacity. So after going back to business school and graduating with my MBA, I pursued a business career. I was determined to land a position which would allow me to gain sales experience. But I quickly learned that because of my engineering background, I was not considered a fit for most sales positions. Fortunately, Dennis, a good buddy of mine, was a sales manager at a copier company and reluctantly gave me a shot at selling. One year later, I was one of his top copier salesmen in the state of Florida.
After proving my sales credentials, opportunities began to open up and I landed a position selling satellite systems to the defense department for an aerospace company. This led to a position with another aerospace company selling engineering software. Each step away from aerospace engineering led me from working for provision to working out of my passion. At this stage of my life I found myself working out of my passion, but I hadn’t yet transitioned from passion to purpose.
Selling software allowed me to work from a passion to use my technical skills and also deal with the people side of the business, but I was about to enter a field that I was really passionate about: investment banking. My partner and I started an investment banking boutique which through God’s blessing became highly successful. From a professional career standpoint, I couldn’t have been happier, but I began to wrestle with the questions, “What can I do to fulfill my purpose?” and “How do I allow God to use my skills and my passions to accomplish His purposes?”
Through our investment banking business, my business partner and I generated the financial resources to launch Ministry Ventures, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Christian entrepreneurs launch ministries. It was at this point that I began to experience purpose. I was working out of a deep conviction to serve God and to see His purposes fulfilled on the earth. As I allowed the progression of my career to fulfill God’s purpose in my life, my personal sense of fulfillment soared. Knowing that you are fulfilling the purpose for which God designed you brings the greatest fulfillment possible.
Living for Provision
Many people work solely for provision or just to make a good living. But provision alone doesn’t satisfy. Some people believe they must succumb to the day in, day out grind of a job they dislike their entire lives. If you find yourself in a job that you dislike, God may be allowing your discontent to act as a catalyst to seek a position more aligned with your passion and purpose. Or perhaps God’s plan may be for you to stay in your current job, but exercise your skills and passions outside the workplace to pursue your mission and purpose.
Living for Passion
Other people approach their careers with an emphasis on passion and gratification without regard for provision. They believe money will simply “follow them” if they follow their heart. These people may even put their loved ones at risk when they quit their jobs to earn a living exclusively from their passion without a plan or seeking God’s guidance. Not every hobby can become a full-time job. Sometimes we must balance provision and passion in order to experience purpose.
Living with Purpose
What would it look like if your passions (what you really get excited about), your giftedness (what you’re really good at), and your calling (God’s unique purpose for your life) were perfectly aligned?
My career in investment banking is an example. My occupation supplies provision for me which allows me to pursue my purpose. It may be that your career provides the financial resources you need to fulfill your purpose as an after-hours teacher or a ministry volunteer. Or perhaps your purpose and provision both come from your career; for instance, you may be a full-time pastor or a Christian author.
No matter what, your career must serve—or enable—you to accomplish your purpose. You must not allow your career to consume you so that you are ineffective in accomplishing God’s purpose for your life.
Here are some questions for you to consider that will help you pursue your purpose with balance:
Does your career leverage your skills and passions? If not, is there a career opportunity that does? Are there non-career activities that could serve as an alternative outlet for your personal skills and passions to be used for God’s glory and to accomplish His purposes? Is your career disabling you from pursuing a passion-filled purpose and calling? If so, what career would better support you being all that God has called you to be for Him?
Finally, remember that God wants you to passionately pursue the purpose for which He has perfectly designed and equipped you. And no matter what, your career should always support your purpose.