Ask Salt&Light: How do I know if my work as a financial adviser pleases God?
Melvin Chan // November 5, 2019, 6:00 am
God sees our heart, so as long as we are always searching our hearts and obedient to his word, we will do well. Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash.
Having a burden for evangelism, I chose to become a financial adviser as I’m able to meet many different people on this job. However, sometimes I can’t help but feel that pastoring in a church is the more honourable thing to do, while my chosen path fulfils a lesser purpose and is secular. How can I be confident that what I’m doing pleases God?
Joanne Y., 46, financial adviser
It is heartening to hear that you have a burden to share the gospel with unbelievers. You may already know this burden you have is actually a commandment of Christ given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) for all who call themselves disciples of Jesus Christ. Your dilemma of how best to share the Gospel with unbelievers is not uncommon.
When Jesus’ disciples were called to make disciples, it was more than just sharing the Gospel literally.
In your case, you are asking: Is it by being a pastor or to work in a secular job, or can I do just as much as a financial adviser?
If we understand the purpose and motivation of the call to make disciples then, in some sense, our actual vocation or job is just a means to an end. I must emphasise that when Jesus’ disciples were called to make disciples, it was more than just sharing the Gospel literally. In some sense, it was a call to replicate themselves. They – which means us, too – were asked to teach their disciples to obey all that Jesus commanded. The apostle Paul summed this up more concisely, “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV).
I would first like to quickly address the feeling of being perceived as a lesser person compared to a pastor. As we now stand being accepted only by the blood of Jesus, we all stand justified as one before God (Galatians 3:28).
What is your career goal?
Does your job or vocation define your primary role? Or are you firm in your belief that we are first followers of Jesus Christ, then a pastor, financial adviser, father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter? If we have got this part figured out, then the subsequent roles we play, and the many roles we have, become clearer.
How do you figure what job best suits you? The Apostle Peter suggests, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, … in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Being aware of our conduct also means to put others’ interest before yours.
Therefore, you need to be aware of what your gifts are, in order to be able to exercise them in word and in deed (Colossians 3:17), so that God may be glorified. Since I am in the same line as you, let me suggest three practical points consider.
Firstly, I firmly believe in excelling in our giftings, so our professional conduct and knowledge have to be the best that we can be (Colossians 3:17). Our conduct and deeds are very much a part of demonstrating or living the Gospel. I believe this goes further than mere words alone. Your life should leave a mark on your clients, your colleagues or anyone you interact with.
Secondly, being aware of our conduct also means to put others’ interest before yours (Philippians 2:3-4). Incidentally, this is part of the financial adviser’s ethics and code of conduct. I found this to be the greatest challenge in my first few years in the industry.
At times, to give good advice meant no product sales, therefore no commission and no income.
At times, to give good advice meant no product sales, therefore no commission and no income. It is truly a test of how far you are willing to go to put others’ interest before yours and to trust that your own needs will be met by God.
Thirdly, continue to depend on Christ and ensure your heart is in the right place constantly. It is easy to be distracted by success and worldly treasures. Remember that where you treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34 NIV). Do not be tempted to think that you can have your cake and eat it, we can only serve one master (Matthew 6:24).
There is sacrifice and a price to pay if our priorities are to honour God. I personally do not believe that worldly achievements or excesses are a reflection of whether we are walking right with God. Often, I find the opposite to be true. God teaches us to die to self and to find sufficiency and contentment in Him alone, so that you will find joy that far exceeds anything the world can give. God sees our heart, so as long as we are always searching our hearts and obedient to his word, we will do well (Psalm 139:23-24).
I leave you with this encouragement: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
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