The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The sweet spot of vocations

Calling is grounded in knowing that origin, destiny reside in God

Life would be strangely hollow if we didn't ask ourselves, at least on occasion: What exactly should I do with the rest of my life? What is my purpose on this planet? Am I doing the right thing with my days and my energies? Does who I am matter to anyone else?

These are questions of vocation or call. They supersede the quest we sometimes engage in to busy ourselves. They are ponderings that have little to do with an occupation, profession or even a career.

As ethicist William F. May once pointed out, the words "car" and "career" both come from the Latin word for racetrack — carrera. Who wants to go through life racing around in a circle? A calling is much more considerate than that.

There is no career called "liberator of slaves" and no profession called "mother of God." Yet we know both Moses and Mary were called by God to a very special purpose. Each was blessed with something greater than aptitude or skill. God gave them gifts for their separate callings, gifts that would necessitate both sacrifice and faithfulness.

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