A gracEmail subscriber writes that his son is interested in becoming an attorney. "Many people have a negative view of lawyers," notes the dad, "considering them to have but little concern for truth and justice if those things do not further their own agenda or personal gain." Can I offer any advice as a Christian attorney?
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I know many lawyers who try to follow Jesus Christ and to do what is right. I know some others who do not. The same may be said concerning salespeople, business folk, industrialists, financiers and even career clergy. The practice of law offers unique opportunities to work for justice, both criminal and civil, and to further a peaceful and orderly society. It also presents some special temptations -- involving arrogance, materialism and a lack of human kindness. Those temptations are not unique to attorneys.
The practice of law itself belongs to the Present Age which is passing away (1 John 2:17; 1 Cor. 7:31). That is also true of education, medicine, government and business. The eternal dimension in any job is found in personal relationships and human encounters. Do we see all people as important to God and therefore to us? Do we treat others with courtesy and respect, especially those who serve our daily needs? Do we go through the day conscious of God and his will? Does his kingdom agenda shape our behavior, determine our priorities, inform our decisions? If we cannot say "Yes" to such questions (even though we fall short of the ideal), our lives are spiritually empty -- no matter how successful we might be at obtaining power, building reputation or accumulating wealth.
Ultimately, each of us should seek the career for which God has gifted us and to which he opens doors of opportunity. The person who can discern the divine calling and follow that will experience inner peace and fulfillment in any job -- whether digging ditches or taking depositions, programming computers or teaching third-graders to read or to sing. May God lead your son into a career that provides such fulfillment to him and brings honor to God.
Prayer -- "O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Adapted from Book of Common Prayer.)
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