Employment in the Bible

In the Bible (and today), people’s professions are often used as identifiers – some accompanied by negative connotations. However, there are countless examples of people in the Bible with varying careers who were sought after by Jesus Himself, serving as a reminder that Jesus’ love is unending, unfailing and steadfast regardless of what other people think.

Take a look at a handful of professions and those who were deemed “less than” by society but chosen specifically by Jesus or for His purpose.

The shepherds

During Biblical times, people visited temples to worship and were required to present the best versions of themselves when they entered in reverence to God. Because of their hard work with animals, shepherds were often viewed as “unclean” and on the outskirts of society (figuratively and literally), which makes it even more intriguing that they were the ones chosen to announce Jesus’ birth.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”

– Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

After the angels appeared to them, they went to Bethlehem where they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a manger. When they left, they told everyone their story and all were amazed.

This goes to show you that no man-made profession casts you aside to God – and no matter your career, He assigns your purpose.

The fishermen

Galilee, where Jesus spent a lot of time, was a fishing hub. He happened upon brothers Peter and Andrew as they were casting their nets into the sea. He said to them:

“And He said unto them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”

– Matthew 4:19 (KJV)

At that, the brothers pulled in their nets and followed Him. Later, they passed brothers James and John who Jesus also asked to join Him, so they did. No reason is given as to why they decided to drop everything and follow Him, but they did. Let us use their faith as an example to how we should live our daily lives – by following Jesus every step of the way.

The tax collector

Matthew was first mentioned in Matthew 9:9 when Jesus called him to be one of His disciples. At the time, Matthew was working as a tax collector, a profession frowned upon by most in Jerusalem as they were responsible for collecting money to fund the Roman Empire. So when Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, those around Him were stunned. Jesus replied:

“On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

– Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV)

Jesus’ relationship with sinners speaks to His love for us. He doesn’t care about what you’ve done but what you will do – His forgiveness encompasses all sins!

The Pharisees

In John 8, the Pharisees, respected figures in Jerusalem’s religious community, confronted Jesus about what they should do with a woman caught in adultery to try and trap Him. Instead, Jesus begins writing in the dirt.

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’”

– John 8:6 (NIV)

People began leaving, realizing Jesus would not succumb to their tricks. When only Jesus and the woman were left, He said:

“‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

‘No one, sir,’ she said.

‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

– John 8:10-11 (NIV)

This serves as a reminder that no matter what you do or where you come from, you still have a place with God! And, God is not swayed by Earthly status or careers – it’s the condition of your heart that matters.

While our careers are often used as identifiers and distinguishers, God sees beyond that. We all can be used for His purpose!