tips on serving Christ after college

I used to think I had to give up everything in order to gain God’s approval.

Years ago I was attending a campus church and towards the end of every school year a bunch of students would announce after graduation they were joining the ministry team full time.  They believed they were called by the Lord to serve Him and set aside the degree they worked hard for because they knew “it would be much more rewarding to serve Him than to work in any other setting”. They were met with roars of applause, infinite hugs, and smiles shining so brightly they glowed like angels.

I remember dreaming about living life on mission and thought “man, that must be the life! I would do anything to give all my time to God and serve Him fully instead of worrying about a job. That must be the best thing ever.”

Friends, it took me years to realize how detrimental of a message that was for me. Trust me, I am not trying to criticize people who are genuinely passionate about joining a church staff and how they feel called by the Holy Spirit; what I am trying to bring to light is how common it is to glamorize such an act and put it on a pedestal above any other profession.

Every season this would happen I would constantly question my life choices and lived in anxiety about what I wanted to do with my life. Would God approve if I didn’t follow Him and spread the Gospel as a job? What about the Great Commission calling all of us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20)?

Sooner or later I found myself terrified that every single time I would experience something good in my life, God would almost instantaneously take it away; I associated my hard times and seasons of living in the valley as being a punishment for not giving up my engineering degree.  Little did I know, this was consuming me so deeply it shielded my eyes from what the Gospel was screaming to me all along.

During my college years I didn’t understand that there was never enough “sacrificing” I could do to earn God’s approval.  The truth is, there is so much to give up because of what Jesus did for me, I would never be able to repay it.

Let’s be real:  God does require payment! This is exactly why Jesus came and died on the cross for us. Thankfully, because of this, His mercy doesn’t rest on our shoulders anymore! We don’t have to worry about God approving of us because Jesus’ blood covers every sin we could ever commit. We are righteous and blameless before the throne of God and He looks down at us with a smile so bright we have to look away.

Friends, hear me out. You don’t have to give up your dreams to go follow God. He calls us each to His own purposes wherever we are! So no matter if you’re working in an office from 8-5, traveling the globe teaching people about Christ, staying at home to take care of your kids, or anything else, God’s put you in that exact situation for a very special reason. You may not be able to see it now, but when you let Christ’s light shine through you freely, you’ll reap the harvest you can only dream about.