Saturday, January 05, 2008

Spurgeon on Faith and Leaving Work Behind

Over a year ago, I started a series of posts based on Charles Spurgeon's sermon on faith and work. Here's the final post in that series. It speaks to Spurgeon's assertion that the influence of faith in our daily work "enables a man to cheerfully leave his occupation when the time comes".

There are many reasons that might lead to leaving or changing our present occupation. For instance, we may be physically constrained by illness or we may relocate to live in a place where job opportunities are limited. Sometimes, life circumstances may necessitate a change in our vocation. Prevailing economic conditions can play a role in hindering our employment. Whatever the reason may be, faith in a Sovereign God helps the Christian navigates through vocational changes. Faith reminds us that we are under the command of a Sovereign God to do His bidding and to humbly submit to His will for our lives.

The believer says, "Command my journey, and I go." I am but a tent dweller, and must expect to be on the move. Like Israel in the desert, we must follow the cloud, and journey or rest as the cloud ordains, for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Such a mindset enables us to humbly cope with inevitable changes in our occupation. For instance, the day may come when you're asked to leave your present position so that others, more energetic or more qualified may serve in your place. How might you respond? Spurgeon reminds us that faith can help us here.

Sometimes our vocations have to be given up through weakness or old age. It is a hard pinch to many a busy man when he feels that he has no more strength for business, when he perceives that other and more vigorous minds must be allowed to step into the long occupied position...Faith is of essential service here. It helps a man to say, "My Master, I am one of the vessels of thy house; if thou wilt use me I will be glad; but if thou wilt put me on the shelf, I will be glad too. It must be best for me to be as thou wouldst have me."

Ultimately, through death each of us will leave our life's work behind. Spurgeon encourages us to approach that prospect with a glorious, eternal perspective.

And then comes at last the leaving of your vocation by death, which will arrive in due time to us all. Then faith displays its utmost energy of blessing. Brethren, may we meet death as Moses did, who when God bade him climb the mountain, for there he must die, uttered no word of sorrow, but like a child obeyed his father, went upstairs to bed, looked wistfully out at the window upon the promised land, and then fell asleep. His work was done, and his rest was come... Dear aged saints, so near home, does not faith transform death from an enemy into a friend, as it brings the glory so near to you?

Perhaps it's helpful to remember that our present occupation is temporal, subject to change and ultimately, only for a season. Yet, the circumstances of our present employment are always under God's loving directive, never apart from His Sovereign rule.

As Christians we enjoy the chief of all vocations - we are called to worship Him forever.

If you're interested, you can check out the other posts in the series here.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, it's so good to know that God is in control no matter what we might face. That we can count on God's greatness and goodness: his good sovereign rule through it all.

I see this as very interactive between us and God, with the broad lines of faith already drawn, but each of us in an outworking of that as new as Abraham's was. In the steps of our father of faith, Abraham, as Peterson says in "The Jesus Way."

Always good stuff from Spurgeon, and thanks for your good words to us as well.

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for your comment - I think there's something about Spurgeon's encouragement to us that can help us cope with changes in our vocation.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like the idea of passing our work on to others who also need the chance to use their energies and gifts, to shine. Moving aside can be an act of blessing that goes beyond our own needs to enter a new phase.

Every Square Inch said...


That's a perspective that wasn't represented on the post but it's so humbly redemptive to think of our work being passed on to others to carry on.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Yes, it's helpful to remember that it's all and under God's loving directive, Sovereign rule - but that's the trick - remembering, especially when things aren't going to well at work

Every Square Inch said...


You're so right - it's much easier to remember these truths when things are going well - not so easy when we're having a tough time at work

Sally Ferguson said...

I like knowing that work is a gift from God and can be gratifying. The key is to do work that is in your niche of expertise. When you do what you're gifted to do, that helps the tough days to have purpose too.

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

It is true that doing what we are gifted to do brings much joy.

However, I wonder what we would say to the person who is in a job where a person doesn't have the opportunity to exercise creativity or use his/her innate gifts?

I've found many young professionals in such a situation

Sally Ferguson said...

I have also seen people in jobs that don't fit them and find it incredibly sad. Ecclesiastes tells us that work is a gift from God. When work doesn't bring joy, it may not be a good fit. They have two choices: either change jobs or use their talents in a volunteer situation during off-work time. Two books that are helpful for that search: "Lifekeys: Discover Who You Are" by Jane A.G. Kise, David Stark & Sandra Krebs Hirsh; and "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard N. Bolles.
"Lifekeys" goes into great detail about purpose, talents, passion, values and priorities. It is a great way to clarify one's life choices.

Tony Rossell said...

Holding your career loosely is great advice. So much in our culture drives us to the other extreme. Tony