Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Careerism is Unbiblical, Worldly and Very Easy to Fall Into

Many in the modern western Church rightly regard careerism as worldly. Careerism can be defined as a pursuit to achieve earthly professional or business success for personal glory. It is an achievement-orientated pursuit that is focused on earthly achievements. It craves for the fame one can have in one's profession, the money, and thrives on pride in achieve what one can achieve in one's own strength. 

There is a difference between working hard and careerism. A person may be a very diligent and wise worker who strives to serve his employer, but not be a careerist. A careerist may be one who is not a truly hard worker and faithful servant of his employer, but be one who is lazy and unfaithful to his employer, but yet "succeeds" in obtaining promotions because of his flattery of his boss.

However, careerism need not be so outwardly crass, where all one does is seek earthly achievements. As long as one treats one's work as the ultimate means of satisfaction or security, which is very easy to do, one becomes a careerist. One could be a community worker who is not working for money, but seeking satisfaction from his job. Such would make him a careerist, as he is seeking satisfaction in his work, as opposed to in God. 

Any satisfaction in one's work in to be found in serving God. If one's satisfaction in work stems from anything other than in serving God, one is not serving God in one's work, and therefore, making it an earthly career. Even a pastor doing ministry work can pervert it into an earthly career where he is doing so to achieve a higher rank in the church. He may even turn his ministry work into an earthly career  where he finds satisfaction in his work because of the benefits it gives him, such as overseas trips being funded by the church, being able to make himself well-known at Christian conferences and being in the position to discipline people to show his power and authority over everyone else. Such is ministry careerism.

Evangelists may turn their evangelism into an earthly career. Such people are called career evangelists. They may not do it for the money, but as long as they are doing it to gain the earthly benefits, such as being provided for by the church, or to make a name for themselves, or even to show how persecuted they are, it becomes an earthly career.

Careerism can indeed be very subtle, not of the crass sort as found in the secular world, especially the secular corporate word, but one that is very subtle, and manifests into even in supposedly more spiritual church work.

Ephesians 6:5-8 exhorts how servants, or the modern equivalent, employee, is to conduct himself or herself:

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

The employee who follows Christ serves God in his work, and not men. His good service to his earthly boss is done not to please him, but to please God (Ephesians 6:6-7). All his work is his service and worship of God, done in the spirit of pleasing and losing God. He is also to do good in his work, and not evil (Ephesians 6:8). 

Since good work can only done in serving God, it means that any earthly work that one does for one's earthly glory, or in seeking earthly achievement, glory, fame or security does not count at all as good work as per Ephesians 6:8. 

God instituted work as good, as it was instituted before the Fall which occurred in Genesis 3: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15). Work is clearly not a curse at all. God made man work as that he would serve Him, and not serve himself, or to be independent of God. It was done under the authority of God for His glory, for man is the glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7).

Human beings were created for the glory of God, and not themselves. Therefore, all things, including all good things such as work, are to be done for God to be counted as good. Thus, work is to be done in finding satisfaction in God, not work. 

Neither is to be done in seeking money. Rather, one is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in working to glorify God. When a follower of Christ does this, Jesus promised that all one needs which are given by God out of His grace:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
(Matthew 6:25-34).

Even such needs are that which one needs to be able to glorify God, and not needs for one to self-indulge in or to satisfy one's own desires for oneself.

Careerism perverts work into one which one does for one's own glory. It is earthly and worldly, seeking to glorify oneself, instead of God. God hates careerism. 

However, work done to glorify God, not to seek one's own glory, and done in self-sacrificial way is seen by God. Any hint of work done in the spirit of seeking one's own earthly security or satisfaction is not, and cannot glorify God. For work is instituted by God not to seek one's own earthly security, but as a means of serving Him and Him alone.

Do not fall into the trap of careerism. Focus on God in all one's work, do it all for the glory of God and God alone.