My Church (Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ, or McBic for short) is doing a sermon series on vocation and our role in the community. First of all I want to say that this is my interpretation of the material. I don’t claim to have all the answers (far from it!), but I do want to express my thoughts about the message and its implications for our lives and our relationships. This particular subject is hitting Miranda and I right in the heart of our focus as of late. Recurring questions have been “what do we want to do with our lives?”, and even more importantly, “what does God want us to do with our lives!?” We are learning that everyone is indeed “Called to Ministry.” What does this mean for us? It means that we are called to minister to people regardless of our profession. God does not call everyone to be pastors or missionaries, but he does call ALL of us to live out our faith in our daily lives.
Practically, how do we do this? I think it starts with figuring out where our vocational sweet spot is. Our awesome Pastor, Layne Lebo, has given us a venn diagram to see what this looks like. I have replicated this diagram below, and then will give my take on each point in the following paragraphs.
I believe we can only scratch the surface of what God’s priorities even are, as we are only human and only have a finite understanding of the world. However, I do believe that prayer is a vital aspect of our daily lives, and through prayer and study we can begin to discern and receive insight as to what God’s priority is for us.
For example, I Recently stopped playing a phone game called “Clash of Clans.” First of all, it is a fantastic game. It has all the workings of a full size video game for a mobile device. I love this game, but had been coming to realize that too much time was spent on it. Upon praying, I felt the push to be done with it and get back to reading. Reading is something I LOVED growing up, but my free time has been spent attacking villages and upgrading defenses. Since quitting the game I have been able to read several books and start multiple new ones. I am excited to grow in this way and learn as much as I can. God’s priority was for me to stop playing this game and focus on reading, and I am glad that I decided to heed his call!
Prayerful consideration of one’s distractions can free you to hear God’s call and determine his priorities. You can begin to understand and apply what God wants you to do and compare that with your current job. If your vocation matches God’s priorities for you then you are off to a very good start, and if not, then taking time to pray and ask for direction might be the right step for you.
I believe that there is a reason that this part of the diagram is on the top! God should always be the lead for our lives and the lead for our direction! If it is not from God and if it doesn’t match God’s priorities for our lives then why are we doing it? God does indeed work in mysterious ways that we will never truly understand, but I do believe that most vocations can match God’s priorities for us, if we are only able to grasp ahold of it!
The world’s needs-
Eventually we won’t need any more toll booth operators. E ZPass will take over and everyone will have it. For now, this vocation still exists. The world needs these people to take our money and give us change. There is nothing glamorous in this, but there is STILL the need. The old Motto goes “Well, someones got to do it!” This statement is true, and if after prayerful consideration you believe that God is leading you towards this job then by all means take it! I can only imagine how many people you would see everyday, and how many opportunities you would have to smile and to say “have a great day!” The good that comes from this can’t be taken lightly.
On the flip side, sitting on your couch watching Netflix all day is not something the world needs. The world needs thinkers and doers, not lazy couch potatoes. Get out there, get a job or go to school, and meet a need of the world!
Our own Skills/Passions-
What am I passionate about? What am I good at? I think we could all come up with a list of stuff that we love to do, as well as a list stuff that we are really good at. Hopefully you can then combine those lists and find something that you are both good at AND like to do! I love to play football and other sports, but I wouldn’t say I was the best by any means. I don’t feel as if God is calling me to make a vocation out of those gifts and try out for the NFL or the NBA.
However, I really enjoy leading other people, as well as building relationships with employees. I am fortunate that God has put me in a place where I can use both of these skills at work. My wife always asks me “you get paid to sit in a meeting and talk to people!?” I always say “Yep! and its the best part of my day.”
Issues arise for me when it comes to monotonous tasks such as weekly reports or phone calls to insurance companies. I definitely would consider myself to be skilled in both of these areas, but I am nowhere near passionate about doing the same things over and over again! This is where I personally struggle in figuring out where my passions and skills align. I know that I will never find an absolutely perfect balance, but I have confidence that through prayerful reflection God will lead the way.
Finding that sweet spot is the ideal. It is the goal to find a vocation in which you find that God’s priorities, the world’s needs, and your own skills and passions align. I believe that finding that alignment is key to living a life that is both God honoring and satisfying.
Recently I have been reading a book by Rick Bezet called “Be Real.” To quote-
“We have the same choice before us each day. We can choose to settle and just get by, just keep our heads above water and survive another day. Or we can choose to take charge of our future by following God on the path of our divine destiny. We can play it safe, or we can take a risk and go for it.”
Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart!