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  • Writer's pictureRose D

Do you Have a Job, a Career or a Vocation?

My favorite comedian, Chris Rock, said, “When you have a career there’s not enough time in the day, when you have a job there is too much time.” Rock describes a career the way I would describe a personal vocation.  

Most of us work to pay our bills and to provide for ourselves and families.  A few of us are lucky to have a career that is also our vocation. These lucky few have careers that are also their calling, the workday flies by, and though there are obstacles and problems they don't feel insurmountable.  Most of us have a job- we clock in to do our work, try not to watch the clock too much and then clock out. A job is not a vocation.

For the apostles who were fishermen, their job was to catch fish, but it wasn’t their vocation. Jesus gave them their vocation,”to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel.” Notice he didn’t say anything about a salary or an hourly wage.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we monetize everything. Any service seems to come with a dollar sign attached to it, and over time we start to believe that anything worth doing should be something we get paid for, and anything we don’t get paid for is not worthwhile.  We spend so much time thinking about our careers, and getting an education to have a career that we expect it to fulfill us in ways it probably can’t and shouldn’t.

It took me way longer than it should have to realize my personal vocation and career were different. I kept trying to figure out how my vocation would make money, or how I could turn my vocation into a career, because if my vocation wasn’t making money then how worthwhile was it?

Years ago a person told me my vocation was to bring people together, and I remember thinking,”That’s it?! That’s the lamest vocation I’ve ever heard of. That’s so ordinary, that can’t be right.”

Each of us has a personal vocation.  Maybe it’s being a parent, or a volunteer, or making others laugh, or having empathy. We want it to be something glamorous but all these seemingly “lame” vocations, when we lean into them, bring Christ into the world and is our unique way of proclaiming the gospel.

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