He continues: “A job is an assignment to do work that can be quantified and evaluated. …but a vocation is not a job in that sense. …I can’t be hired to be a pastor, for my primary responsibility is not to the people I serve but to the God I serve. …How do I stay attentive to and listening to the call that got me started in this way of life – not a call to make the church attractive and useful in the American scene, not a call to use my considerable gifts and fulfill myself, but a call like Abraham’s, ‘to set out for a place… not knowing where he was going,’ a call to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus, a call like Jonah’s to ‘go at once to Nineveh,’ a city he detested, a call like Paul’s to ‘get up and enter the city and you will be told what to do?'” (p.165)
I agree with the rest of Peterson’s chapter also. He says that we seem to have a hard time in our culture knowing and living the difference between a job and a vocation. We have a hard time being like the artists he knew in New York, the not-famous ones, who were janitors, secretaries, and waitresses, but who were really painters, dancers, and musicians. It’s all a blur as to where we draw a bit of our identity, an answer to the questions, “Who are you and what has God wired within you?”
Some friends I and head over to Kansas City’s Crossroads district on First Fridays when we can. We meander most aimlessly through the art and the “not-art” as our friend Luke critiques. We surf the crowds, taking a moment to be curious when we see something that catches our attention. We wonder what made this art happen, what inspired the shapes and gashes, light and dark. We also, perhaps with a tinge of envy at the freedom of a vocation lived out, wonder what these people do for work because, “I’m sure not going to pay that for whatever this art seems to be.” I think the answer is that they’re artists, painters, singers and dancers. That seems to be all that matters to them – that no matter where else they’ll go or what they’ll do, they will be artists.
What’s my art, my vocation? What’s yours? Then again, I think this is plural: what are my vocations, my arts, my inner-wirings?
(I feel that speaking about vocation in this sense brings life to a word that seems to have been smudged together with “task-list,” as in, my vocations are a collection of these tasks and roles I am supposed to do instead of live out.)
|Synonyms:||artful, articulate, easy, eloquent, facile, fast-talking, flip, fluent, garrulous, hot-air, insincere,loquacious, plausible, quick, ready, silver-tongued, slippery*, smooth operator, smooth-spoken, smooth-tongued, suave, talkative,urbane, vocal, vocative , voluble|