I’m trying to remember all the jobs I’ve had in my life. I grew up on 1,000 acre farm (that’s 400 hectares for you metric mates). Bailing hay, feeding and watering the cattle were probably my first jobs. In high school I worked for a pig farmer/auctioneer which was really interesting. In college it was more seasonal between roofing, construction, woodworking, dry cleaning, furniture mover, camp counselor, grounds keeping and….well, there’s probably more. I was a pastor for a few years before heading into the community development and humanitarian aide sector. And then? Tell then I landed in business. Coffee roasting (I could talk about this for days, but will spare you the topic- for today at least) and Barista (the person who makes your latte everyday) are the biz now.
Aaahhh coffee. Sweet, specialty coffee with all your intricate flavors of blueberry, rhubarb, cocoa, chocolate, milk chocolate, pineapple, earthy undertones and more, how I enjoy thee. It’s a fun job. It’s one where part of my creative side can be let out and become an artist with some green coffee seeds and a roaster. As interesting as it is, it is not my life long desire. Being involved with humanitarian aide or community development are areas that I find enjoyment and interest in. However, they are also not my life long desire. They are jobs, careers, places that I can use some of my gifts and skills, but when all is said and done they are helping to put food on the table. They are a means to an end. They are a vessel, a vehicle I get to drive on a long, incredible journey.
I enjoy road trips. Sometimes I just have a destination to get to. But the trip is far more enjoyable when we stop from time to time, take the dirt road and find out where it leads, stop and look at the valley, park and go for a hike.
Careers usually have no place for side trips, detours or stopping at a point of interest leisurely. Careers get you from Point A to Point B. They serve a purpose, but careers aren’t usually life long desires. They aren’t usually something that will hit every gift and skill that you are given and created with.
Vocations on the other hand…A vocation, is what we were made for.
“Our vocation is always a response to a Divine call to take our place in the kingdom of God. Our vocation is a call to serve God and our fellow humans in the distinctive way that fits the shape of our being. In one way or another, Christian calling will always involve care of God’s creation and people. This realigns us to the created world and to our neighbor, moving us form self- centered exploitation to self-sacrificing service and stewardship,” as David Benner states in his book, The Gift of Being Yourself.
I love coffee. But my vocation, what God has wired, gifted and skilled me for at least for now, is only using coffee as a means to engage with people; a vehicle to take the detour of a conversation of another’s inward journey; to take the dirt road most dare not go down to the core of vulnerability with other people by being real, honest and showing up; to simply stop and join them in their journey of understanding who they are in Christ, finding freedom from the pain of the past and walking together towards the future…towards Christ. That is my vocation. We were made for a vocation, not just a career. So what is yours? What is it that God may be leading you to? It doesn’t mean quitting your day job or your career. It is simply living out how you were made to in engaging this world, in God’s created order.
My prayer is that we don’t go through life trying to figure out our careers and missing the joy of our vocations. Let’s find them together!
What is your vocation? What things have people affirmed about you that may lead to a greater understanding of your vocation? What has your experience been if you’ve been living out your vocation?