Vocation and Your Mission
Frederick Buechner wrote this definition of vocation: “that place where the world’s great need and your heart’s great gladness meet.” I’m not sure we actually think about it in that way. Work was actually a gift from God for us, and since the Fall, it has simply become hard, difficult. The frustration of any job builds as the years accumulate and somewhere around midlife people start talking about the dream of retirement. When that conversation starts, it’s all too easy to check out and forget the impact of your vocation.
So lately, I’ve been asking what drew people to their vocations, what they find satisfying in those vocations, and what drives them nuts! Most come into their vocations because of aptitude or accident. “I never planned to do what I do, but tried it and found that I enjoyed it,” one man said. All too often, we have relegated good, hard work to the status of “necessary evil” instead of realizing that whatever we put our hands to do, we are serving God, as well as our world.
Is that how you view YOUR vocation? Every time I open the news, I see rampant examples of fraud, graft, greed, and malfeasance. It has led me to a conclusion: a person who exercises integrity and honesty in his/her work is a JEWEL of great worth. People who DO what they SAY they will do are the most respected and valuable people in any organization. In fact, that one trait (doing what we say we will do) is the number 1 desire that employees have for their bosses. Although I don’t have the research for the converse, I do believe it’s accurate: doing what we say we will do is the greatest desire that bosses have for their employees.
Most of us spend more time at work than we get to spend with our friends, family, or hobbies. So it would seem that Jesus’ greatest desire for the expression of your integrity and faith would be that it is expressed in the marketplace through your vocation. Do you see your own vocation in that light?
I think that’s part of Paul’s plea with the Colossians:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.