Hey, Calvary Fremont –
You either have a job, a career, or a vocation. What’s the difference?
With a job, you’re concerned about income – how much money am I going to make?
With a career, you’re concerned with outcomes – am I making a positive contribution to society; am I maximizing my potential?
With a vocation, you’re not mostly concerned with income or the outcome, but with the overcome – am I helping people overcome the penalty and the power of sin? Is God moving into people’s lives through me?
The person with a job is primarily concerned with helping themselves.
The person with a career is primarily concerned with developing themselves and helping others.
The person with a vocation is primarily concerned with worshipping God by partnering with Him in His plan of rescuing people from the penalty of sin and getting them free from the power of sin.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that unskilled people making low wages have jobs, that those with advanced training and higher wages have careers, while those in the ministry have vocations. Jobs, careers, and vocations have nothing to do with levels of income, years of education, or measure of notoriety. You can be a blue-collar, white-collar, or pink-collar worker and have a vocation. You can be a well-known actor, a skilled surgeon, or a supreme athlete and just have a job. The street sweeper can have a vocation whereas the corporate CEO can merely have a job.
Vocation is derived from the Latin word ‘vocare,’ – “to call.” To have a vocation is to be called by God to do what you do. And a vocation doesn’t have to be the full-time paid ministry. If they are called by God, the construction worker, IT tech, stay-at-home mom, and the engineer on the train don’t have jobs or careers – they have a vocation – a calling from God.
I want to be used of God to help people overcome sin, guilt, shame, selfishness, bondage, brokenness, and hopelessness. A vocation is much more than providing an income for the family, and it’s more than ensuring a positive outcome for society. A vocation is where you walk in the confidence that God has placed you where you are for ministry – to help people overcome that which seeks to hold them under. To have a vocation is to know that God has “called” you to do what you do, where you do it.
When you do what you do as unto the Lord – your work is transformed into a vocation.
When you do what you do as unto the Lord – your work is worship.
When you do what you do as unto the Lord – your work is ministry.
A dishwasher may be considered someone who just has a job – just washing dishes because they need the money. But if that dishwasher has been called of God and placed there by the Holy Spirit, that individual is walking out his/her vocation. God has strategically placed them there to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. For the person vocationally minded, the job becomes a ministry; the career becomes a ministry.
The one who is vocationally minded asks herself, “Who can I serve today? Who needs encouragement? Who can I share Jesus with?” The one who is vocationally-minded doesn’t see what they do as primarily helping self or even helping others – it’s worshipping God. Of course, the vocationally minded earn a paycheck and help others, but they see what they do as worship to God; they see what they do as partnering with God to bring in His reign. Whether you’re a crossing guard or a top-notch movie producer, if what you do is a platform to help people overcome sin and bondage, you are partnering with God in a vocation and you are an ambassador of the kingdom of God. Being a mom, being a dad is a vocation. It is a calling from God to raise your children in the fear, nurture, and admonition of the Lord. The street sweeper who is Kingdom-Minded has a vocation. The pastor who has lost his vision only has a job.
Every believer has a calling, a vocation. Calling transforms a job or a career into a vocation. With a vocation, you’re not concerned with income or the outcome, but with the overcome – am I helping people overcome the penalty and the power of sin? Is God moving into people’s lives through me? May God move into people’s lives through you.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim