Recovering the concept of vocation

By Dave Henning / April 27, 2013

In the Introduction to Every Good Endeavor, Pastor Timothy Keller cites Robert Bellah’s landmark book, Habits of the Heart, in noting that the major problem eating away at our culture’s cohesiveness is “expressive individualism”.  Near the end of his book, Bellah proposes a solution to the crisis:

“To make a real difference . . . [there would have to be] a reappropriation of the idea of vocation or calling, a return in a new way to the good of all and not merely as a means to one’s own advancement.”

Restated, we need to recover the idea that any work we do is not merely a job, but a calling.  Indeed, the Latin root of our word “vocation” is vocare– to call.  To reappropriate the idea of vocation, we must revisit the origin of that idea in the Bible.  Thus the major focus of Every Good Endeavor is to “illuminate the transformative and revolutionary connection between Christian faith and the workplace.”

While the concept of vocation is foundational to those in ministry positions, our downsizing or job loss provides the opportunity, welcome or not, to revisit and revision our calling.  Is the Lord calling us to ministry outside the church or to a radically different ministry to the church and its people?

Tomorrow’s blog: “The fingers of God”


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Dave Henning

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