By Stephanie Oaks
With two homeschooled high schoolers in the house, many of our conversations are centered on college preparation and possible future careers. Questions arise about where to go to college, what major they should choose, what interests they should pursue in life, how much money they would like to make when they get older, and where they might want to live.
In my own professional life, I have served in many different roles—lifeguard, swim coach, gymnastics instructor, teacher, accountant, financial analyst, and now organic farmer. My husband, a professional musician, has worn just as many hats professionally. Both of us are finally in careers that we were created to be in. With this in mind, we are trying to instill in our children that they should follow their dreams and passions, focus on the talents that God has given them, and be sensitive to where God is leading them.
Above all, we want them to be aware of the fact that no matter what career path they choose, God will use them to touch the lives of others. As I look back on the people that I have worked with and met through all of the roles that I have played in this life, I realize that it is not so much about my own expectations about where my life will go or what our particular business ventures will look like, or even how much money we will make. It is about being faithful to loving and helping the people that we come in contact with through those ventures.
No matter what type of business we are in we will come in contact with others. What kind of attitude will we have toward them? How will we show God’s love to them? Is Christ evident in the way that we run our business? Is God glorified?
Sure, the purpose of our “jobs” is to earn money for ourselves and for our families. In our culture, earning money is a must, and being hard working and prudent with our money is biblical and wise. But let us not get so caught up in profitability and the earning of money that we miss the point of our purposes here on Earth. As homesteaders we strive to be as self-sustaining as possible so that we are not burdened by debt or the need to constantly be concerned about earning more and more money. There is more to life than that. Besides, regardless of the choices that we make, God’s will cannot be thwarted. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
But do not fear, there is a promise for us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). If our plans are not going the way that we thought they would or we are wondering why we are in the role that we are in, let us take a moment to look around at those whom God has place in our lives. They are there for a reason.
Stephanie Oaks lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two teenagers. She spends her days homeschooling, running and maintaining No. 9 Farms, growing and preserving food, and educating others about organic gardening and eating well. You can check out their farm on Facebook under No. 9 Farms.