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Called to the Marketplace

By Al Erisman- Former Director, Research and Development, Boeing Company and Director, Center for Integrity in Business, Seattle Pacific University

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

A young Christian was working a job in logistics for a package delivery company. (Logistics is the planning and scheduling of the movement of goods so that products arrive on time where they are needed in an efficient manner.) He bemoaned the fact that his work was ordinary and wondered how he could find a job in full-time missions work that “counted” for God.

This young man obviously didn’t know the biblical story of Joseph. God had personally come to Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham, with the promise of making his family God’s representative on Earth. The promise was repeated to his grandfather Issac and to his father, Jacob. Joseph was in a prime position to be a leader in carrying out God’s promise. But God had something else in mind for him.

Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt, falsely imprisoned and forgotten. Then one day, someone he had helped in prison remembered him and suggested to the Pharaoh that he was the very person who could help the Pharaoh with a major problem. Not only did Joseph interpret the Pharaoh’s dream, but he was commissioned to implement a plan to collect, store and distribute food to save the world in a time of famine. God cared about the distribution of goods then as he does now, and called Joseph to that work.

Joseph could have looked at his situation as being unworthy of his efforts, in light of the promise God had made to his family. But we see no evidence of this. Rather, we see a person who passionately and excellently pursued his job in logistics, serving God full time in a decidedly secular workplace.

This story of Joseph was an inspiration to me during the 32 years I worked at the Boeing Company. When I left the company to teach at a Christian university and publish Ethix, a friend said to me, “Now you are free to pursue the passion of your heart for the Lord.”

My reply was, “I believe God called me to Boeing and, imperfect as I am, I was excited to serve him there. Now I have a new opportunity to serve in another way. I believe I’ve always been in full-time Christian service.”

Point to Ponder

No matter who writes our paycheck, we must be careful not to treat our work as “ordinary.”

Questions to Consider

1. In what way might God use your daily work for the benefit of His kingdom?
2. Do you need to remind yourself of this perspective from time to time?
3. Read through the story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50. How is the life of Joseph instructive in your own life?
From Devotional Ventures, © 2007 by Corey CleekPublished by Regal Books. Used by permission. Allrights reserved.

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posted by Justin Forman | 7.23.2009 - 5:55 AM


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