Thursday, May 11, 2017

On Vocation

On Vocation: The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.  (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking).  
Yes, that means I'm in the V Chapter of this book. I will finish it this week.  Maybe tomorrow.

I had to stop and write about this particular quote that I read today. It is the very first quote I ever read from Frederick Buechner, back in 2005. I had been invited to preach for Laity Sunday, and I was looking for something like this - I didn't know who had said it or what exactly it was, so the Lay Leader at the time sent it to me. It became a part of my sermon, and then after the sermon, the Lay Leader gave me a thank you gift - a Frederick Buechner book called Beyond Words. It's still sitting on my bookshelf in my office, and I pull it often for devotional material.

There are sentences that follow you through life, don't you think? In music it's called a "lifesong." I don't know what it's called when it's a quote, but this one has stuck with me for over 10 years.  There are so many tenants of faith for me in this one sentence:
  1. God calls - God calls you. God calls me. Don't forget that you are called to something. Everyone is.
  2. It takes discernment to find that place of calling - you have to work with God to discover what you are to do. If that wasn't true, the sentence wouldn't exist - no one would need encouragement to look for their call; they would already know what it was. Finding it might not be easy.
  3. We are called to deep gladness. We sometimes think that if we are suffering, then we are answering our call. I'm not saying there won't be suffering, but if you are not experiencing deep gladness, then you haven't found your calling. Underneath the hard work, the frustrations, and the muck of doing what you are called to do, there is deep gladness. 
  4. It's not about self-gratification. There is a purpose to your service. There is a need the world has that God is calling you to meet. It's about giving of yourself, not to make yourself happy, but to fulfill a mission you have been given.

The place where your deep gladness and the world's deep need meet is a sacred place. It is the burning bush. It is where you throw off your shoes and say, "Here is where I meet God."  

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