Decision Making and Vocation

There’s an excellent conversation going on over at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of conversations with people young and old about their work—how they can make decisions about their career in a way that honors their relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you are struggling (and I know a LOT of us struggle with this) to try to figure out how your vocation fits into God’s will, go read Scot’s post and the comments of the readers there. Also, grab yourself a copy of Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Jossey-Bass, 1999).

The primary thing we need to completely rid the Christian world of is the notion that there is some “higher calling” in being a pastor or missionary. This warped thinking says that pastors and missionaries are in “full-time Christian ministry.” This is not a biblical idea - God has "called" all of us to be in "full-time Christian ministry" in our various vocations. The very term "vocation" means "voice" or "call." And we must live out our fullness as Christians in each and every calling we have. There's not "part-time Christian ministry" for a believer in Christ - it is all full-time. There is not a "secular" part of life and a "sacred" part of life - it is all sacred. Work is a part of the Creation that God called "good," and we need to understand that in our work we are being Christian when we participate in creating culture in the world.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

My good friend, Paul Sartarelli, Associate Senior Pastor at The Chapel in Akron, Ohio, just gave an excellent message called "My Work…His Work" (mp3). Do yourself a favor and listen to Sartarelli's message.

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Michael W. Kruse said...

Hi Bob,

I have enjoyed your posts over at Jesus Creed. This book by Palmer is one of the best.

You mentioned that we should get together at some point and I agree. I think the nearest I get to Canton in the near future is Louisville at the end of the month. That isn't very close. Do you every make it out to KS or MO? We should look for an opportunity to connect.


Ted Gossard said...

Alot of excellent stuff going on in this discussion lately. I look forward to getting the book, especially for younger.

I think often people make the pursuit of God's will too complicated and too formulaic. Both can be killers. Sure, arrival to fulfilling who we are in God, takes time, and will have its conundrums. All part of the journey we're on, I take it.

Abraham would be a good one to consider here. Did he always know what in the world he was doing? No. So why should we get so upset when we don't have everything (or anything) figured out?


DLW said...

It's good stuff alright.

I hope folks will also mention organizations like the Affiliation of Christian Engineers will get more attention from these sorts of conversations.

I haven't read Palmer, but I will try to see if I can work it in...

Bob Robinson said...

I failed to mention a wonderful group out of Canada that is very proactively tackling the subject of Christianity and work.

Check out the Work Research Foundation.

Bob Robinson said...


Yikes-we live far apart!!

God will arrange something, I'm sure.

Becky said...

I've recently checked out the WRF's "Comment" newsletter that they produce online. I've been impressed with the writing and consideration they give to just these kinds of issues. Good stuff is here.

Bill Arnold said...

That's a great book.