What is your vocation? Are you sure?
When talking about a Christian’s understanding of work and vocation, the focus is naturally on a person’s major occupation, and this is where our emphasis will lie. It is necessary to keep in mind however, that all useful activities whereby we sustain or improve the life of others are work and that in this over-all context the Christian reveals his faith by his works. Vocation also refers to a ‘calling’ and originally in English, to a religious calling. But for the Christian, a calling is not so much to a specific occupation, religious or otherwise, but to a faith and a life-style which, of course, are reflected in a person’s particular occupation. Christians are called to express the kingdom of God in the kingdom of this world.
This wider perspective becomes particularly important when we realise the varying amounts to which people are able to express themselves in their major employment. Students, artists, writers, musicians, and so on, may work so as to live, but find their major fulfilment elsewhere. Others, unable to do other than repetitive, non-creative work, need to have wider frame of reference in which to fulfil their calling to work. And, of course, this applies to some degree to all occupations. A Christian view of work is finally not taught but caught-or, rather, we are captured by it.
It is also important for Christians to understand the fundamental issues concerning their work and vocation because of our current unsettled scene. Unemployment, automation, management, worker conflicts, and economy versus quality pressures, may affect all workers to some degree, and if the Christian view of work is not clear in a person’s mind, they will inevitably react to the pressures, rather than live out their Christian values.