Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

What is My Calling?

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A few friends and I are reading and discussing Bob Buford’s book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance over breakfast Friday mornings. The book club is a continuation from our last few years at work. Each of us left our organization that was going through significant changes at the end of March, 2018. This time has been a period of evaluating our callings and purpose after having spent in excess of 30 years in the workplace, and we are all in a different stage of evaluation and searching for significance.
One friend stated this morning that he wasn’t sure what his calling was. I’ve known this individual for about fifteen years. I suggested that one of his callings was leadership, as I have seen him be a leader in a number of different settings. I say “one of his callings” because both writer Jeff Goins in his popular book The Art of Work and Pastor Bob Smart in his book Calling to Christ, refer to our “portfolio of callings”. As an example, this friend would also have a calling as a husband, father, grandfather, artist, friend, etc.
Os Guinness in his excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life, introduces us to two types of callings. As Christians, our primary calling is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live and act entirely for God. Our secondary callings can be our jobs or vocations. However, these, and other things are always the secondary, never the primary, calling.  We don’t get our identity through our secondary callings, but through our primary calling. Bob Smart writes that calling formation is for a season, and usually takes from age 18 to 35, but is always renewing with changes in our particular, or secondary, callings.
In Halftime, Bob Buford asks “What is your purpose? What makes you tick? What do you do so well that you would enjoy doing it without pay? What is your passion, the spark that needs only a little breeze to ignite into a raging fire?” Another way of putting this is “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay?”
Another suggestion is to look back at how the Lord has used you for His glory. Leadership was not a calling that I chose. As long as I can remember I’ve been shy and often lacked confidence. I test as an introvert on the Myers-Briggs Indicator (MBTI) assessment. My leadership journey actually started as a part-time minimum wage cleaner for a contract cleaning company that still cleans the buildings for the organization I worked at for nearly 38 years. As a shy guy not pursuing leadership, I gradually moved from a cleaner, to a floor supervisor, building supervisor and eventually an area manager with 60 direct reports as I was finishing college, and would be recognized as the organization’s Area Manager of the Year. Although leadership (professionally and in the church) was not the direction that I thought I would go while in college, it was the calling and vocation that God has placed me in and equipped me for.
So, what about you? How would you answer Bob Buford’s question “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay? The answer to that question could go a long way in helping you to determine one of your callings.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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