How to Find Your Vocation
What should you do with your life? Are your choices and actions aligned with God’s will? Are you ever restless, anxious, frustrated, or unfulfilled in the everyday stuff of life?
Christians—and specifically Lutherans—answer these questions with the doctrine of vocation. But what is vocation, and how do you find it?
I just finished reading God at Work. The author Gene Veith describes vocation as God’s active work in the world through people. God individually calls and places us in spheres of work, family, country, and church. He then proceeds to work through us to provide good gifts, build good culture, and serve our neighbors. Our job is to be faithful within our unique calling.
Vocation teaches us that God cares about all kinds of work and stations, from the exhilarating to the ordinary. Even when vocation feels like a cross, Veith points out that God hides himself in our crosses to be found by us through prayer.
So as parents, we wash dishes because we are called to love and serve our families. As teachers, we grade papers because we are called to love and serve our students. As citizens, we obey traffic laws because we are called to love and serve our civil authority. As Christians, we attend church meetings because we are called to love and serve the body of Christ.
How do you find your vocation?
Unfortunately, for the most part, you don’t. Your vocation has already been given to you. By no choice of your own, you were born into a family, country, time, and place. You were then given a unique set of experiences, interests, and ability. We are far more dependent and receptive beings than we realize.
Receiving your vocation requires faith, especially as our culture actively attacks spirituality (this is why we need Christian culture-makers!). Certainly we make choices and decisions, but the real question is: Am I loving and serving my neighbors in my work, family, church, neighborhood, country?
I was particularly struck by Veith’s articulation of our vocation as citizens. God ordains civil authority to preserve law, justice, and freedom. A good state in turn allows for the flourishing of good culture. A good culture can make it easier or harder to live out one’s faith. So Christians should care deeply about our political freedom and cultural health, especially when the state promulgates immorality. As Veith writes, “Cultures often have embedded in them real sin, which it is the duty of its citizens to challenge.”
The doctrine of vocation certainly doesn’t quiet all my questions over civic duty or life’s meaning. But thinking about vocation provides a framework for understanding countless daily tasks fit mysteriously yet cohesively into a larger picture. Vocation is starting to hush the nagging question of purpose. It is transforming everyday life.
At Immanuel, many faithful individuals are daily living out vocations to teach, to learn, to support, to lead, to submit, and to pray. How does your vocation intersect with the Immanuel community? How are you called to love and serve your neighbors at Immanuel?
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