Your Work is Your Calling

photo by Piotr Bizior

What’s the purpose of having a sense of calling? A sense of calling—understanding that God has put you where you are for His purposes—is important because some days, it’s the only thing that will stop you from going on a rampage or quitting and going to work at Starbucks (I hear the benefits are great, incidentally). A sense of calling is important, but we have to be careful that we don’t hyper-spiritualize the idea.

Even typing that seems odd, though. I mean, how can you over-spiritualize a sense of being called by God?

The answer is by limiting it to ministry.

Because I work in a ministry context and I’m around a lot of Christians every day, I see this happen a lot. Well-meaning people try to motivate their co-laborers by appealing to calling. “Anyone can have a job, but in this place, you need to be called,” they might say. Here’s where they’re right: To work in ministry and survive, you need to have a sense of calling. It doesn’t matter if it’s church or para-church ministry—if you are there running on your own steam, it will kill you. And, let’s be honest, your coworkers won’t want to work with you either.

But the same is true for “normal” work, too. As a Christian, you can’t do it and excel under your own power, not indefinitely. Perhaps that’s why I found this passage from Excellence so helpful (and yes, I am aware that I’ve been talking about this book a lot lately):

Every Christian, regardless of his or her particular job or career, should view that assignment as a special calling from God, a vocation. In that vocation, whether or not it is the job they would most like to have, believers are to pursue excellence in order to fulfill their calling effectively and to bring glory to God. Every duty we have as Christians must be discharged with all our strength, because ultimately we are serving God, not other people (Eph. 6:5–8; Col. 3:23)

Here’s the point and I hope it’s helpful as we start a new week: All work is inherently spiritual. You are called to your job because God has placed you there. And by virtue of this, you are called to do your work with excellence. It doesn’t matter if you work in a church, a coffee house or at home and regardless of how long your season in that place lasts—your work is your calling. Rejoice (even if your job isn’t your favorite)!

  • Scott

    Aaron, the primary focus of The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada for 2012 is to help people embrace and live out their distinctive call God has placed in their lives. This post will be a tremendous help as we move forward. Great insights!

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Thanks Scott—grateful that you found the article helpful!

  • http://sightregained.com Louis Tullo

    What an important reminder! Christ truly does provide us with a tremendous sense of purpose and motivation to do all of our earthly work with excellence to glorify Him. He recognizes us even when it seems our earthly bosses don’t. Thankfully, in my current job I’ve been blessed with a supervisor who recognizes my good work, and I count that entirely as a blessing from up above. Some of the reformers’ thoughts on work are a great source of encouragement here too.

  • http://herenowkingdom.com/ Andy Catsimanes

    Here’s a book I’m reading that may be of interest…

    http://www.amazon.com/Work-Matters-Connecting-Sunday-Worship/dp/1433526670

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Cool, I’m looking forward to reading that one (it’s one of the many on my to-read list)

  • Pingback: Worth Reading–January 25, 2012 « Gospel Encouragement For Everyday Life

  • bucknellarts

    “Every duty we have as Christians must be discharged with all our strength, because ultimately we are serving God, not other people ”
    I really needed this tonight Aaron.
    Thanks brother.