On Vocation

The gifts [Christ] gave were that some would be apostles,
some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…

Ephesians 4:11-12

Dear friends,

I’ve been thinking again about vocation this month. That word vocation is an old word, coming from vocatio, (summons), which comes from vocare (to call), which comes from vox (voice.) It’s often used to talk about God’s call to pastoral ministry, but there’s more to it than that.

In my last letter, I wrote about how all kinds of jobs can be callings, and so can ways we serve the church at the church or with other church members. But as often happens, I left out things many would not consider “real jobs,” like taking care of loved ones. I wrote, “Caretaking – for ourselves, or loved ones young or old, swallowed all our energy that we otherwise would use in service of the church.”

But as I’ve thought about it more, I’ve come to see God calls us in all different kinds of ways – and often in more than one way. I’ve discerned a calling to be a pastor, but I am also called to be a husband and a father and a son and brother and a friend. Those other callings are not less important. In fact, for my wife and children, my calling to be their husband and parent, respectively, is more important than my calling as a pastor.

Some of us are called to employment that makes the world a better place. Others are called to take care of someone we love. We are all called to take care of ourselves, such as we can.

For some of us, our calling may not appear to serve the church: How can focusing on doing the work of healing when you cannot do much else benefit the church? Because it benefits you, and you are a part of the church.

This is not a call to exclusively focus only on yourself or your family just because you are a part of the church, but if you don’t have the energy to serve elsewhere and feel bad about that, remember that this too is God’s calling.


Rev. David M. Schell, pastor