by David McEachron
While my wife Kendall has been in medical school, I’ve been working to support her in jobs that, I’ll be honest, aren’t the kind of positions I hope to stay in for the rest of my life. Since she told me I cannot just retire to read all day after she graduates this spring (trust me, I asked), I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should do when she starts her career. I’ll be blessed with a bit of time to step away from my main job and find a more “vocational” work life. In other words, I’m excited to look for work that is more of a calling. I think a lot of people, both in our wider culture and Church of the Cross, are interested in something similar.
However, the initial way I approached this became unsatisfactory. I kept asking myself (and God) “What will fulfill me?” As I reflected on that, I realized that doesn’t work. There has to be a deeper way to seek a meaningful career. In December, Andene and I met about an opportunity to explore this at Cross. MacLaurinCSF, a study center at the University of Minnesota, is providing books for churches to explore vocation. I read one of those books, Kingdom Calling by Amy Sherman, and found a lot of helpful insights. Dr Sherman frames the discussion with a vision from Proverbs 11:10, “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.” When the aim is the flourishing of a community, the questions you ask about your own vocation change dramatically. Rather than the central concern being my own fulfillment, the key is using your gifts and abilities to benefit others. Her very accessible book gives a powerful vision of the gospel being lived out and reconnecting people with God individually as well as a community.
If this is something that interests you, we’ll have some of the books available at church and we’ll be meeting during 2ndservice for the next four Sundays (Jan 11, 18, 25 and Feb 1) to discuss these topics. Reading ahead (or the whole book) isn’t required, but we’ll go through selections from the book each Sunday. We’ll discuss Sherman’s vision for vocation/work and how that contributes to gospel living for families, communities, churches and how it brings God’s Kingdom closer to all of us both internally as well as in our external relationships. It will be a time for honest dialogue that will likely challenge us, but will cast a vision for our lives the 6 days per week we are not at church.
- January 11th — What is vocation? What does vocation have to do with righteousness?
- January 18th — How does being faithful in your vocation bless your community?
- January 25th — How does a focus on your community’s flourishing affect your walk of faith?
- February 1st — What does vocation and calling have to do with evangelism?