The idea of vocational work versus our calling is one that I have been familiarized with as the child of a pastor. My father was a vocational pastor, and I never truly understood what that meant until recently. He worked at the local school as a bus driver and the transportation supervisor as his vocational work and pastored our church. There are many times in our lives in which the work we do to support our families and our ministry work are not always the same job, but that does not mean we can not minister at our daily job.
I graduated with a degree as an occupational therapy assistant and have worked as that for the last four years. The career path I have chosen is one that is rooted in helping others and assisting them in regaining their independence in life. Working in healthcare, my job is not one that is a Monday through Friday position and many times I am working weekends. My mother has not always understood why I have to work on a Sunday and why patients need therapy on the weekends, but my patients do not leave the nursing home just because it is a Sunday and they still need someone to care for them.
Growing up with my father working at the school, he was able to work during the week and be home on the weekends to focus on the church, and home every evening at the same time to focus on the church and our family. My mother was a stay-at-home parent and took care of things at the house and my nephew when they began raising him. I have seen my father work hard to provide for our family and that is one thing he always instilled in myself and my siblings. There are not many people who can say they enjoy working, and some only work for the paycheck. I am thankful my family taught me the value of working hard in your daily job but also in our ministry. I have been blessed in knowing God has chosen me to help others and I am able to do that through my daily job. When I chose to work in a skilled nursing facility, it did take time to come to terms with working weekends and missing church. My mother makes a valid point when she says we must put God first and should not place work before him, but as I stated earlier, my patients continue to require care even after my shift is over. I truly believe God places us in various career paths to care for his people and understands our circumstances when we are required to work on his day. When I was a child, and for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to work in a career that helped people. I started out wanting to be a doctor or a nurse, then a teacher, and now in therapy and I feel this is what God has called me to do. Though, not all people have a job that is their ministerial calling, for example my father working at the school while being called to preach. We all must live in the world and make money to provide for our families and to further God’s kingdom, so to say a ministerial job is more spiritual than a secular job is not necessarily true. We are all God’s children and he has blessed us each with different gifts that he uses to build his kingdom, no matter what our vocation is. My career as a healthcare worker allows me to be a witness to those who are in need of a physical healing, where my father’s job as a pastor is to be a witness for those in need of spiritual healing. Your neighbor’s job working at the prison allows him to reach those that may have never heard the gospel, the same as our missionaries in the depths of the world spreading the gospel.
In conclusion, every individual in the family of God has a purpose and a calling. No one person being better than the other, and each of them reaching those who their neighbor may not be able to. There is no judgement to be passed on those who are called to work in a secular position versus a ministry position, because that is where God has placed them and they have the ability to witness to someone to lead them to Christ.
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