Three weeks ago I spoke at California Baptist College and Biola University to classes of business students. Students in both classes were asking, “How does a Christian find God’s true vocation?” There are several things I shared with these students.
- The word ‘vocation’ is the same word as ‘call’. One is a Greek word and the other Latin. So wherever we read ‘call’ in the Bible, we can use the word ‘vocation’.
- All of God’s people have a vocation, in other words we all have a calling. There is no such thing as a Christian who is not called of God. God calls us to Himself and that calling involves His vocation for us. We express our true faith as we recognise we are called to live righteous lives and that we are called to serve in whatever He has us to do. (Colossians 3:23)
- While it is true that God breaks into the awareness of some Christians in a dramatic way and redirects and relocates, for most of us it is far better to describe our call as simply following after God. God created us, and He’s made us unique. He’s equipped us, guided us and cherished us through the experiences and opportunities He’s give us, and our vocation is expressed in the way we keep focused on Him in the whole of our life and work.
How does that work out in real life? Last month when I was in Denver, my family and I went to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. We rode the subway and disembarked a good 10 blocks from the stadium. Having never been there we did not know where the stadium was. So how did we find it? We followed the sounds of the crowd. Vocation, calling, is simply following the sound of God through all of life.
Each Christian needs to grasp deep in our spirit that work (what we do) is a calling of God. So finding our vocation is less about waiting for some mysterious inner voice that redirects us and more about waking up to the gifts, education, opportunities and experiences God has blessed us with and maximizing these for His Kingdom.
Though the Pharisees may divide the world into “full time” workers’ (pastors and mission workers) and “the rest” – this is not God’s view. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 1 Peter 2:9. Every person chosen by God is a priest. Our vocation, our work, is to be an altar where we offer worship to Jesus. When we realize that the divisions between professional Christians (pastors and mission workers) and others are not Scriptural, we are more likely to see what we do as having divine significance causing us to seek the best ways to declare His glory through our work.
God’s people, you and me, need to constantly rethink, re-evaluate, re-strategize the way we view our vocation/work and the way we do our work so that God’s Kingdom has the whole of our lives and not just part. Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily as unto the Lord…
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.