“Dear youth, what is the aim and purpose of your life? Are you ambitious for education that you may have a name and position in the world? Have you thoughts that you dare not express, that you may one day stand upon the summit of intellectual greatness; that you may sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and help to enact laws for the nation? There is nothing wrong in these aspirations. You may every one of you make your mark. You should be content with no mean attainments. Aim high, and spare no pains to reach the standard” (Messages to Young People, p. 36).
How do spiritual matters intersect with the real world? Is Jesus found only at church on one day of the week, while we invest in the world for the other six days? How spirituality and the real world intersect is a great revelation of the depth of our relationship with Christ. Rather than making our secular callings central and our spiritual values peripheral, we are called to make spiritual values central and our daily work peripheral.
In other words, our relationship with Christ should inform and direct the why, what, and how we do our work. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Is God a mere means to bless your secular work? Or is your work a natural extension of God’s calling on your life? The decision to choose job offers, home location, and even your spouse should be on the basis of two things: the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God—evangelism and character.
Nehemiah experienced a shift from having a peripheral God to the realization that God had placed him there for a higher purpose. He may have been in the court for an anthropocentric purpose, expecting God to bless from a distance. But God had placed him in the court for a Christocentric purpose, to help him realize God’s will for his life.
With God’s desire to have His people “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19), shouldn’t we aspire for the positions of excellence, greatness, and power, not for human ambition, but God’s ambitions? Is your occupation a beachhead for the gospel? How has your workplace been affected by your spiritual connection to God? What is the connection between heaven and your world?