In-Sight: Considering Vocation

Living vocationally does not mean living with certainty as much as it means living with trust–trust that God can use us in more than one way, and faith that the current way is an acceptable one.

Thomas Merton reflected often about his vocation, writing once in his journal, “Why am I always unsatisfied, and wanting to know what is my vocation if it is my vocation to stay here reading, praying, and writing and sometimes teaching a class?”

His words not only accurately described my current reality in retirement, they also reignited a confidence in owning these simple acts as “vocational.”  Moreover, Merton’s words reminded me that we never know our vocation by endless speculation or second-guessing everything we do.

In other words, we have to land somewhere–choose something specific–and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, either by confirmation or amendment.  Never to be specific leaves us confused, and leaves the Holy Spirit with no basis for speaking with us about how we are supposed to live our lives.

So, God says, “Do something, and then we can talk.”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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3 Responses to In-Sight: Considering Vocation

  1. J Russell Williams says:

    Steve, how appropriate are your thoughts for me! Someone once wrote “playing golf 7 days a week in retirement doesn’t satisfy and will make you a poor man.” Well, I don’t play golf but I retired in 2008 & have found my best moments when connecting with people in ministry to others. Although I have painted our house throughout(you can paint only so much!), the best moments for me come when reaching out to people. One specific 9 months were devoted as a docent to Passages: the Museum of the Bible, a roadshow of wonderful biblical artifacts now moved to Springfield, MO. Tell us more on this matter and thanks.

  2. marialing says:

    This is SO helpful in my present context and circumstance.

  3. amygill36 says:

    Thank you, Steve. That has been my struggle for too many years. Such grace. And also to you, my friend. 

    Amy (Mrs Bill Gill)

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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