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The Best Job Security

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.

Within a month of moving to Hecla, South Dakota, I received three job offers upon walking into local businesses simply because I looked like the kind of person who would show up and work. Amid virus hysteria, I continue to see help-wanted signs across the Dakotas.
There is no lack of work. But it might not be the job you want or expect.
Some know their aspirations early in life. For others, that knowledge comes by surprise. Everyone has had some job he didn’t like. Regardless, the Apostle says, “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23)
Only one Man knew exactly how His life would unfold, and it was to give His life for ours. Jesus openly said that it was a job not to be desired (Mark 14:36). His boundless, perfect love compelled Him to be our Savior anyway.
His saving work carries on today as our ascended Lord commissions believers of various gifts and callings to
“go . . . tell.” (Mark 16:7)
When it comes to this Gospel, then, there is also no lack of work: “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) You might not foresee the job of preacher or teacher in your future. Hardly anyone does. Only through the Word of God do you get to find out.
As with poor little Samuel, who ran about in confusion until he finally sat down to listen, our listening to God’s Word dispels our anxiety also: “Speak, for Your servant hears.” (I Samuel 3:10) Such study equips you with just what He needs, right where you are: “God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom.” (Daniel 1:17) Your path unfolds before you as you grow in the skills and abilities He provides: “A man’s gift makes room for him.” (Proverbs 18:16)
To this end, no better advice can be given than to attend our Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. ILC has proven to be the reliable institution where such gifts are developed and fostered through faithful Scripture teaching.
ILC is not only about becoming a pastor or teacher. Everyone gains from his time there exactly what God intends. Many students have gone on to become outstanding farmers, engineers, nurses,
full-time mothers . . . all while serving in essential church roles like elder or Sunday school teacher.
Don’t think you’re too old for school. Men these days rarely have just one vocation for life. Many with “early retirement” explore second or third careers. Peter certainly didn’t expect his abrupt job change: “From now on you will catch men.” (Luke 5:10) Ask your pastor to lend you a book or two from his seminary days. Both of you may be surprised where it leads.
You may not want to be a pastor or teacher right now. That’s actually a good sign. The overly eager are the last people we should hastily lay hands on (I Timothy 5:22). But like the reluctant prophets of old, the Lord might have a different plan in store for you in order to put your unique gifts to work in the service of His kingdom.
You find out—one way or the other—only as you grow in His Word.
You don’t have to be a pastor or teacher. But in the Lord’s will, I haven’t always been one, either, so don’t rule out the office of the public ministry as a possibility! If you trust Him alone to reveal your path, that’s a noble desire indeed. Such curiosity is from God.
Pursue it. Learn more. He promises to direct your steps.
Timothy Daub is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Hecla, South Dakota.