Tim** from Indiana writes:
"Stupid question. But I just want to hear a respectable and honorable person answer this question: 'Is it wise for a young man to get a good-paying job in banking/finance immediately after college in order to quickly pay off debt in order to then go where he knows God is ultimately calling him in his pilgrimage on this earth?' Thanks."
It's not a stupid question, Tim. The situation is dealing with debt, and debt can be difficult. I can see wisdom in getting a "good paying job" and quickly paying off debt. But that road can be very tempting as well.
I'm sure no two situations are exactly alike. Guardrails can help us navigate the gray areas. So here's some questions I would wade through if I were in this situation:
1.) What TYPE of debt do I have and is it manageable?
Is this debt from credit cards or college? College debt can be understandable but raising support to cover medical school might be excessively difficult. Likewise, asking people to cover your reckless financial mistakes isn't very responsible either.
Can I raise financial support to cover the debt payment (usually less than $20,000)? Can it be paid off relatively quickly (less than 1 to 2 years)? In the long run, 1-2 years of working a job in the U.S. won't make a huge difference. But the first two years out of college can be very formative to the trajectory of a life and a lifestyle.
2.) How quickly do I want to be overseas?
Will my passion fade if I don't go quickly? Am I a financial steward of money or do I spend frivolously? Are there guardrails I can set up to keep me on my trajectory if I stay?
3.) Where do I want to serve overseas?
Does that country have a business market that can support me financially? Would getting a job in the country/continent I want to go to allow me to live overseas and pay off debt simultaneously? Rural India will most likely not support an American college loan. But Hong Kong could! Could I work as a teacher (tentmaker) in Saudi Arabia/Japan/China while simultaneously paying off debt?
4.) What profession do I want to have overseas?
Do I want to be a full-time evangelist or have a full-time job and share with my coworkers? Learning the ropes of business in the U.S. can help drastically when looking for a job in another country. Sometimes big companies (like P&G, Aramco, Cerner) can allow me to work a job I love in another culture. Or even get the skills to start my own business in another country. But if you want to share the gospel all-day, every-day then raising financial support can free up your time to share with more people.
The clear path isn't cut for everyone. But sitting down with questions like these can really help determine what I see myself doing in the long term -- allowing me to exercise zeal with wisdom. I would never wish debt on anyone, but I would always encourage people -- what would help you get to the mission field and stay there? Then do that!
Got a question? Email me. #holdfast
**Name changed for privacy.