Confusing Career and Purpose

It is easy to confuse purpose and career. When I speak of a compelling purpose, I am speaking about the spiritual focus of your life. Whatever your career may be—teacher, chemical engineer, pastor, doctor, lawyer, janitor— you have a purpose that is higher and more eternally significant than what you do to put bread on the table.

Words cannot adequately or effectively communicate what a difference a compelling purpose has had in my life. Here are a few steps that will help you on the road to identifying your purpose:

  1. Record Bible passages God has applied to your life.
  2. Reflect on how God has used you in the past.
  3. Determine what you are passionate about.
  4. List your known gifts and strengths.
  5. Delineate what you have excelled at in your work experi- ence.
  6. Define what action words best describe what you like to do.
  7. Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.
  8. Reread all your answers.
  9. Take note of common themes.
  10. Write down key words or ideas that repeat. 11. Summarize those key words in a short, energizing statement about yourself.

What is your God-given purpose? Have you identified it? What has the Lord gifted and called you to do in the body of Christ and among the lost? What is your contribution to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? It so happens that I am a pastor and the director of Coaching and Leadership Development for the Resurgence Training Center at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. That is my career. But my purpose (in the context of my career) is to discover, develop, and deploy God- hungry leaders.

Leaders Who Last

Leaders Who Last

Dave Kraft

Powerful yet concise, Leaders Who Last instructs, warns, inspires, and challenges leaders with what it takes to live, lead, and make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

I would be doing that if I were a doctor, engineer, public school teacher, or anything else.

I would always be on the lookout for those special people in whom God would want me to invest—some during the working hours of my career, and some during the nonworking hours, evenings, or weekends. It all begins with keeping Jesus Christ central through the practice of time-proven discipline (holy habits of the heart). Out of that relationship with him, a clear purpose is crafted. It is based on who he created me to be and how he has gifted me.

When you are plugged into Jesus and have a clear, defined purpose, it will create a sense of joy and enthusiasm in your leadership role and responsibilities.

This article is adapted from Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft.



Related Resources


Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.org/about.