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Feb 10, 2011


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Have you ever posted anything on the difference between work as a "job" and a "vocation."

I think there is a major difference. And I also think most Christians in this country are in jobs and not vocations.

Here's a hypothetical couple of tests:

1. Would you be willing to do your job for "three hots and a cot." If the answer is no then your job is most likely not your vocation.

2. When you are at your job do you spend time looking forward to quitting time so you can go take up your hobby. If the answer is yes then your job is most likely not your vocation but that hobby may very well be your vocation.

As a Calvinist interested in a building a society that is "rightly ordered and disciplined" I think a fundamental task of moral leadership is helping people find THE particular vocation to which God has called them. And structuring society in such a way that all persons are able to embrace that vocation without distraction.

Michael W. Kruse

I can't recall if I've blogged on this specifically but I know I've thought about it. ;-) Maybe I should do a post next week.

In short, I think we actually have three vocations. As Paul Stevens says, we might loosely connect each of these with a person of the trinity.

Human vocation - Exercising dominion over creation as God's stewards, bringing creation to its fullness, and expanding human flourishing. (The Father)

Christian vocation - Carrying on the reconciling and redeeming works of Jesus Christ. (The Son)

Personal vocation - A combination of our A) innate abilities, B) personal experiences, C) our unique context in the world, and D) direction by the Spirit of our passions and circumstances. (The Spirit)

An occupation is a particular application of our vocation. Sometimes our jobs match up nicely with our abilities and passions but other times they don't. Our employment may be what gives us the resources to fulfill aspects of human and Christian vocation (food on the table for the kids and roof over our heads) and other outlets round out other expressions of our personality. Vocation is always bigger than an occupation or what we do during the employment hours of our days.

Note this passage:

Eph 6:5-8

"5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; 6 not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, 8 knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free." NRSV

Even work done as a slave can be a vocation.

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