I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. – John 10:14-16
vo·ca·tion /vōˈkāSH(ə)n/, noun. Directly from Latin vocationem (nominative vocatio), literally “a calling, a being called” from vocatus “called,” past participle of vocare “to call.”
Vocation is holy work.
Once upon a time, the term “vocation” was understood almost primarily, if not exclusively, as being a description for the jobs undertaken by religious workers. So if someone became a priest, bishop, nun, deacon, deaconess, or monk, it was understood that these people had a vocation. During the early parts of the Reformation, theologians, Martin Luther in particular, found that this designation of vocation was a problem: people saw what clergy did as holy and devalued the work done by the rest of the people of God. It was the Lutheran argument that all Christians had at least one vocation, if not a few. And it was emphasized that when we are speaking of “vocation,” we are talking about the jobs God calls us to do.
Throughout the years, vocation has gained traction in describing more than just being a pastor, particularly for jobs like plumbing, construction, and mechanics. This is most noticeable with “Vo-Tech” being a common descriptor of various branches of study. But these are not the only ways one can live into a vocation!
Remember, vocation is a calling that God has in your life. This applies to any work one has, be that working in a factory, or a hospital, or an office complex, or a government building, or wherever else! Being a farmer, a soldier, or an office administrator can all be vocations that God has given to be done. But vocations do not only end with our labor! It is a vocation to be a spouse, a child, a parent, a grandparent, a friend, or a neighbor! The point of all of this is that Christians always have at least one vocation. While one might retire from one vocation, they always have a calling that God is giving to them. No matter the situation a Christian finds themselves in, they have holy work that God is calling them into.
Following a vocation is one way Christians listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. I see this obedience to do the holy work our God, Jesus Christ, expects in the lives of everyone who attends St Paul. I see folks faithfully working to balance not just one or two vocations, but usually six or seven vocations! For all the holy work I see you doing, I give thanks and praise to our Lord.
God continue to be with you,
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+