Our call is to be purposeful and authentic -- Church related work is not necessarily more Godly.

We have a myth in our society that the more education one has, the more opportunities or choices one has as well.  True, more education may lead to more economic affluence and the ability to purchase more stuff.  But I find that more education often narrows rather than broadens the choices about meaningful direction in our lives.  When someone has spent ten years getting a medical, dental, or law degree, how can that person discover at 40 that he/she really wants to be an artist or a truck driver?

I grew up in the church - and learned a lot about vocation in that setting.  But I also saw that fulfilling God's will seemed to be to respond to something external; to the voices of other people rather than listening for my own call.  I saw moral and religious demands that expected people to be something they were not and often directed toward an elusive goal that was just out of reach.

I had a startling conversation with my Dad recently.  Now 91 years old, Dad lives in a retirement center in Ohio.  Dad was the pastor of our local church all my growing up years and a farmer in order to keep food on the table.  I always assumed that he had received a mystical and glorious call from God regarding his role as a pastor.  When I asked him how he heard God's call, he responded immediately, "Oh, that wasn't me; that was what other people wanted."  He explained that others had seen him as a teacher and then told him he should take that first position as a pastor.  He said he never enjoyed the role but felt obligated to do what others wanted him to do. How sad - trying to do something godly that was not an authentic vocation at all.  Perhaps that helps to explain the frustrations I saw along the way.

If we had insight into God's perfect plan and training in understanding our hearts at 18 years of age, all would be well.  However, those things seem to come as a result of living life and usually offer new options along the way.  It often takes years for our hearts to speak, and when they do, we are often too busy with the daily lives we have created to hear them.  There is an old Hasidic tale that has been retold in many forms.  It relates to the tendency of many well-meaning people to want to be someone else and the importance of finding our true, unique and worthy self.  Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said, "In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?'  Rather, they will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?"


From the Bible: 

"Is everyone an apostle?  Of course not.  Is everyone a preacher?  No.  Are all teachers?  Does everyone have the power to do miracles?  Can everyone heal the sick?  Of course not.  Does God give all of us the ability to speak in languages we've never learned?  Can just anyone understand and translate what those are saying who have that gift of foreign speech?  No, but try your best to have the more important of these gifts.'  I Corinthians 12: 29-31 (TLB)

Direction for Today:

Are you walking in your unique "calling" today, or are you living out the expectations of others?

Originally posted Sept. 12, 2007


 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month ia his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com.