Quite often people are asked what they do for a living or what their job is and, quite understandably, they will respond with something along the lines of: I'm a school teacher, I'm in sales, I manage or own a business, I'm a computer programmer, I'm a software developer, I'm a stay-at-home mom. When asked where they work, the name of the company or business will be mentioned.
All of this is answering the question, what is your job? A deeper, and more meaningful, question to ask is what is your vocation? Someone might say that your job and your vocation are one and the same, but that’s not the case…they are vastly different.
The word “vocation” actually means “calling.” I looked up the word “vocation” in Webster’s dictionary and read: “from the word vocare, to call, a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action, a divine call to the religious life.”
I believe, and the Bible teaches, that all followers of Jesus have a divine call on their lives that goes well beyond a job?
When I became a Christian at age 20 I had a “job” at the post office. Over time, God began to make clear to me what my calling is. I increasingly understood it to be developing the next generation of leaders. I believe I would be doing this no matter what kind of job I held.
If I were to ask you what your job is, you could tell me what you do to put bread on the table and meet your monthly financial obligations; but if I ask you what your vocation is, I am asking you something entirely different…what God has called you to do, which may or may not have anything to do with your current job. What’s really wonderful is when your calling and your job are one and the same for this is where a sense of true fulfillment and godly satisfaction will be found. So many are willing to settle for a "job” rather than do the hard but rewarding work of discovering God’s calling for their life.
As I talk with 20 and 30 year olds in the course of my professional coaching and leadership development activities, I meet a lot of people who are looking for a job or have a current job, but are not seeking Jesus for what their calling in life is…what they have been created to do…gifted to do…are really passionate to do. There was a song in the 50s titled, “Get a Job,” by the Silhouettes. It was one of those fun songs that people my age listened to on the radio, danced to at sock-hops and laughed about, but never really thought much about. It seems to me that many young adults (and maybe older ones as well) are trying to “get a job” but are not searching deeper for what their true vocation (calling from God) is. In my book “Leaders Who Last” I devote a chapter to this important topic.
The purpose of this post is to simply get your mind and heart cranking on asking yourself if you have, or are pursuing, a job or a true calling from God.
From page 84 in “Leaders Who Last” here are a few questions to prime the pump!
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you avoid doing? Why?
- For what do you wish to be remembered?
- How might the offer of money or promotion sidetrack you from your true calling?
- What would your life look like if it turned out well?
On my website under Book Notes, you will find a book by Marcus Buckingham, “The Truth About You.” Read this Book Note to further prime the pump to discover your calling--not just a job. Marcus is not writing from a Christian perspective so he will not talk about Jesus in what he writes; but, nevertheless, I think his line of thinking and his questions will lead you from a “job” mindset to a “calling” mindset.
Have at it and, if you want, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how the transition from thinking job to thinking calling is coming along for you. I'd love to hear from YOU!