by David McEachron
As many of you know, a group of us has been gathering during 2nd service to talk about vocation, using Amy Sherman’s book Kingdom Calling to start a conversation about the six days of the week we are not at church. We’ve focused on remembering that the work we do outside of church is as much our vocation as worship and that many of us are called to what some say are “secular” jobs. However, the truth is that all we do, all of life on this earth, is sacred if turned over to God. We’ve discussed, shared and learned together; it’s been both challenging and fun.
Last week Jill Swanson led a discussion about how one’s vocation/service to the community can draw them closer to God and deepen their understanding of the Christian life. Countering a false sacred/secular dichotomy, she shared about her and her husband Kurt’s work overseas. As that ministry transitioned from direct gospel-sharing to development and administrative support, some churches became hesitant about financial support. Instead, we all discussed this vision of turning all work over to God and tried to think of ways we could support each other in our various “day jobs.” Erica Lehn then shared a bit of her story and how she has started to find God’s calling in the business world. In college, she was convinced that God was calling her to teaching bible/theology and planned on pursuing a PhD to that end. When it didn’t happen, she felt lost. However, she has recently moved into a position at her corporate job where she can use her love of teaching/training to build up her team. It’s not what exactly she studied for, but it is work God is calling her to.
Another of Jill’s powerful stories had to do with Kurt’s work teaching people basic job skills. As they stepped back and considered the people in the program as made in God’s image, they realized that many were missing positive communities and friendships that would support them as they moved away from the program. Seemingly simple events like weekly cookouts and Christmas parties brought everyone together in powerful ways. This concern for their work and the community’s flourishing led them to a larger vision of Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God. We can always work to bring God’s Kingdom more fully now, even as we wait for its ultimate fulfillment.
Our last session, this Sunday, will focus on where we can go from here. How can we as a church continue to support all of us in our lives outside of church? How can we continually see Monday-Friday as key to our walk with God? What does your job/vocation/calling have to do with God’s work of redemption?