Knowing That God Calls
- Friday, March 10, 2006
None of us can determine from the Bible precisely which stations to pursue. Most of our stations emerge as we pay attention to the needs and opportunities that present themselves. Someone asks us to help out at church. We discover that we are falling in love. We enjoy a college course so much that we decide to major in that field. Every one of our job applications is rejected except for one—which leads to an offer that we decide to accept. We lose our job or suffer illness.
Access to many stations is partly a matter of social privilege. A college education is an advantage denied to many North Americans and to most of the world’s population. So are internships and job training. In some countries, even worshipping publicly is a privilege. Because social factors limit as well as open up access to stations, each of us is born into particular opportunities and limitations. The most just societies provide adequate freedom and opportunity, but no society is perfect. Although some people are blessed with manifold opportunities, most of us have to face the realities of global, local, and personal circumstances that greatly limit our choices. Flexibility is essential.
Some theologians argued centuries ago that God gives each human being one lifelong work station in order to keep him or her from being lazy and unproductive. Perhaps such was the case then, but today jobs come and go. People win and lose promotions. Layoffs devastate employees’ families and communities. Government regulations and international political and monetary policies impact domestic economies. Midlife career shifts are increasingly common. So is going back to school to learn new skills and enter different professions. As a result, we should remain open to the possibility of a lifetime of occupational moves, perhaps even two or three major career changes. Flexibility and faith are critically important.
Even amidst such turbulence, however, we usually can identify our immediate stations. We might be a grandchild, friend, accountant, mentor, volunteer, or Sunday school teacher—or all at the same time. We might take off a year from school or career in order to reflect and pray for guidance or volunteer for a nonprofit agency. Such a respite can be a time for new learning and special serving. It might be particularly appropriate when the job market doesn’t match our occupational goals. God blesses us with temporary stations even when we are uncertain about the long run.
We are called to connect our shared vocation of caretaking to our own, changing stations. In doing so, we work out our faith in every area of life.
Quentin Schultze (Ph.D., University of Illinois) holds the Arthur H. DeKruyter Chair in Faith and Communication ar Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A nationally known communications expert, Schultze is the author or coauthor of several books, including High-Tech Worship?, Habits of the High-Tech Heart, Internet for Christians, Communicating for Life, and Dancing in the Dark: Youth, Popular Culture, and the Electronic Media.
Used by Permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright 2005. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group. (www.bakerpublishinggroup.com)
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