When Job, Occupation, and Vocation Collide

September 02, 2015

Reblogged from: Matt Rawle

There is a great difference between a job, an occupation, and a vocation. Your job is your list of responsibilities. If you work in a button factory, you might list “pressing buttons” as your first priority, but it’s certainly not your only job. If you have a family, I’m sure you’re preparing a meal for someone. If your heart isn’t as strong as it once was, taking an early morning walk is a daily job. Students do homework, spouses work on building a successful marriage, Grandmothers work on spoiling grandchildren, athletes train, scholars research, musicians compose, and the list goes on. Sometimes money is the payment for what you do. Other times the reward is a child’s smile, a spouse’s love, a better check-up, or the next great idea. Your job isn’t just what you record on your taxes; rather it is the daily activity revealing to the world who we are.

Your occupation isn’t always the same as your job. Your occupation is what occupies most of your time. For example, maybe your job is serving coffee at the corner coffee shop, but what truly occupies your time is worry. With each cup you pour, you worry about making ends meet back at home. Your job might be, “Barista,” but what occupies your soul is the exhausting anxiety of life’s unknown. Maybe your job is lawn care, but as you push the mower across someone else’s grass, you imagine what life would be like if you weren’t so lonely. Addiction is an occupation we’d rather not talk about. Sometimes addiction’s occupation is so powerful it dictates our job, working to feed the insatiable hunger of misplaced desire.

Vocation goes over and above a job and an occupation. Your job is your list of responsibilities, your occupation is what occupies most of your time, but your vocation is who you are called to become. God has already offered you a precious gift and unique talent. Have you ever wondered why you are so good with teaching the children’s moment in worship? Even though you don’t have a “psychiatric help: 5 cents” name tag, why do people seek out your opinion or guidance? Is everyone looking forward to your pie at the Thanksgiving meal? God has blessed you with a gift that you are meant to share with the world, and it is a gift meant to offer life. Life is quite beautiful when a job, occupation, and vocation all become one.

I’ve heard it said that if you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life. Maybe that’s true. I would say when our gift meets a great hunger in the world we begin to understand what Jesus meant by “eternal life.”