Traditionally, it has been understood that whatever one's "job" or "business" or "profession," that is one's vocation. And what one does by way of pure pleasure, is a hobby or avocation -- literally, a non-calling.See also my post Work and Rest in Heaven (May 18, 2010).
I don't want to go too far into these matters, but it seems to me that one might pursue a "job" or "business" or "profession" not by way calling or vocation, but simply as a means to an end, a means by which one is enabled to pursue other, "higher" goals -- either, simply, to "stay alive," "keep body and soul together" (because one can't find other work to do) or, perhaps -- as is the case with many missionaries in limited-access circumstances -- as a means by which to gain legal access to the area in which one actually senses he or she is called to minister.
"Calling," it seems to me -- vocation -- is something more akin to a compulsion, a "necessity laid upon" a man or woman to do something of great worth whether he or she feels a lot of pleasure from the activity or not, whether the activity is easy to do or hard, requires great courage or, almost, nary a second thought.
Whether one is engaged in one's calling or, simply, a "job" or "profession," I believe it is still incumbent upon us to do our work "with all our heart, soul, mind and strength" and "as unto the Lord." But I sense there is -- and, rightly, we ought to recognize a distinction between vocation (or "calling") and job.
>> John's Excursus on Calling is part of a longer post.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Profession and/or Calling
In a recent blog post, John Holzmann challenges the frequent connection between job and calling. I thought this was really helpful. While I've been blessed to do work that aligns closely with my sense of calling, I know many more people whose real vocation is something they pursue after hours. Here's what John says: