“You could’ve been a doctor after eight years of schooling”
“Are you going to be employable after you get your Master’s?”
I sighed. Cue the waves of regret.
These two statements threatened to put a huge damper on any excitement for my upcoming entrance into seminary.
Because they’re true. I could’ve been a doctor in three years’ time, about the time it will take for me to complete seminary. And there were and still are many times during my long period since graduation of not working within the field I studied (or not finding work at all) that I have wondered why, as much as I love studying language, God let me major in that if He was just going to shut the doors to using the degree as I had intended.
When my heart fell after hearing these statements, I was forced to look beyond my heart.
Here is some Encouragement for the Indecisive College Student
1. Seek first the kingdom
A large salary doesn’t exclude you from the kingdom. All professions lived out with the “gaze of the soul upon God” (Tozer) and not upon man serve the kingdom; it’s likely that some of the greatest in the next life will have been both doctors and janitors, politicians and mailmen, lawyers and bus drivers, professors and waitresses because our esteem in the world’s eyes doesn’t matter; it will all fade in a moment in the light of Christ. Instead, their common theme will be that they did not esteem themselves greatly and did not seek their praise from men but from God. Whether the world knew their names and gobs of books have been written about them (Jim Elliott for example) or their names are lost to history and all people who knew them have perished, they will never be more honored than in God’s kingdom and they will never be forgotten in God’s kingdom. We aren’t here to build our own kingdoms but God’s blood-bought kingdom.
Thus, if someone doesn’t enter X career, there is a glorious reason for it: the Lord of everything is at work in our lives to make and chisel us what we ought to be, not what will bring us the most comfort or the most money or the most esteem in this life. The problem comes when we think our wealth or status or successes earns us an automatic “skip” option when it comes to suffering.
Because of His work in us, being “uncomfortable” is no longer our largest concern but passing from this temporary life without having done a thing to point people to eternity and the only One who can purchase it for us is. Whatever we become in this life, in Christ we have “child of God” forever stamped across our identity. And not a dollar will pass through the gates of eternity with us.
I wasn’t a Christian when I chose my undergraduate university or major. But God used people placed specifically there to draw me to Himself. Rather than looking back and wishing I had gone for a career that promised a large salary, I look forward to how God will move in thousands of different ways in my life for His kingdom and glory.
2. Money isn’t everything
It won’t matter in 100 years let alone 10,000 whether we earned six figures or zero. This reality doesn’t mean that, if given the opportunity, talent and guidance from God to have a well-paying job that we shouldn’t take it and it doesn’t excuse poor stewardship of funds or reckless spending. But guarding our hearts should be of uttermost importance, lest we fall into despondency and become utterly useless in the kingdom not because of our salary but because of our love of it. It is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10).