Thursday, January 04, 2007

When I Mention the Word "Vocation"

When I mention the word “vocation”, what comes to mind? Your job. Your career. I know that’s the way I would have answered. But today in my morning quiet time, I ran across this word twice. I am reading Scot McKnight’s book, “The Jesus Creed,” and finishing a second book by Lewis Sperry Chafer, “He that is Spiritual.” In both books the word, “vocation” came up.

In McKnight’s book, it came up during a discussion of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. “Every vocation is tested by God.” McKnight goes on to use the word two more times in the next two sentences. He uses it in describing the vocation of believers, and the vocation of Jesus. Chafer quotes scripture in which the word comes up. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” (Ephesians 4:1 KJV) When I read the second reference to this word, I stopped and wrote it down with the intention of looking it up.

Here are some of the definitions I found:

1. A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified.
2. A particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.

These were the definitions I expected to find. In other words, this is what I always thought of when I read the word “vocation”. But here are a couple of other definitions:

1. a divine call to God's service or to the Christian life.
2. An inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling.

Now this got me to thinking. The first definition begged the question, do I consider my calling a vocation? In other words, do I take my calling as serious as my job? I think many of us should stop and ponder that. The second definition made me stop and question how I look at my calling. Do I consider my calling as a response to a summons from God? Or, even further, do I look at my calling as a certain kind of work? Or do I just look at my calling as something I do on Sundays, and live my life the rest of the week as most of the world does? Things that make you go hmm…

I will spend the rest of the day pondering these things and taking a serious look at how I view my calling. My prayer is this has the same effect on you.

Note: These definitions are from website:

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