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The Most Personally Profitable

Are you a young person pondering a career? Have you considered becoming a pastor, or a Christian day school teacher? This twelve-part series is meant to coincide with the work of the President’s
Committee on Partners in the Public Ministry (CPPM). Its aim is to help you think more deeply about the great importance—and many blessings—of the public teaching and preaching ministry.

My daughter works in a health and fitness center as an exercise coach and dietician. During every work shift she engages in exercise along with her clients. She is required to study nutrition science and to help people with meal planning—knowledge she can use in her own life as well. It must be nice to have a job that by its very nature provides ongoing physical benefits for the employee. In a way, being a called church worker is like that, only better!
The very work of a called servant comes with a host of spiritual benefits for the employee.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to being a called worker is hearing God’s Word regularly at our job. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1) Since a called worker’s job is in the house of the Lord, we can experience that gladness every day at work. Unfortunately, not even Christians always have such a positive attitude. Our old Adam chafes at the repetition and routine of daily devotions and Bible study. How many times have you had to drag yourself to church or force yourself to read a devotion, only to find that the message was just what you needed? As called workers, we are expected to avail ourselves of opportunities to be in the Word. That is a blessing, because God is feeding our souls through it.
Another way called workers regularly hear God’s Word is through their fellow Christians. Congregational members and co-workers empathize with you in facing the challenges that go with the work. Through timely Christian counsel from colleagues and parents of students, a burden is often lifted or shared. Many prove to be like Timothy, a “brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.” (I Thessalonians 3:2)
As a teacher, I am frequently inspired by the students in my care. Countless times they have provided me with the words and examples of people who reflect the love of their Savior in their lives. Education is symbiotic; the teacher is learning from the student as well. What a blessing!
Another benefit of being a called worker is having to prepare in order to teach the Word of God to others. Perhaps you have heard it expressed that the best way to master something is to have to teach it. As with other jobs, digging into God’s Word also takes time and effort. The personal reward, however, is much greater than that found in most jobs. The nature of your job draws you into Scripture. It is there where the treasure is! We have God’s promise, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Some time ago, early in my church calling, a sage pastor of many years shared a caution with me. He said, “Don’t forget to apply the message of the Gospel to yourself as you share it with others.” Sometimes we squander the blessings of our work by getting too caught up in the work itself. By slowing down, taking a deep breath, and allowing the Gospel to wash over us in our meditation, we will be renewed and invigorated in our calling and better able to serve others.
These personal spiritual benefits of being a called worker contribute to it being the BEST JOB EVER!
Joe Lau is a professor at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.