There’s a difference between a job, a vocation, and a calling. While a job is just that—a means of work—a vocation is so much more.
Whether we’re considering the move to entrepreneurship, we’re in the midst of making our God-given dreams or career a reality, or we’re serving in our current corporate workplace, God has a plan and purpose for our lives. That includes our work, too!
Vocation is more than an occupation. What does that mean?
Vocation combines the gifts and talents God’s given us with a divine purpose, calling, and sense of meaning. Each of us has a unique purpose in this life only we can fulfill. Vocation is just one way we live out part of the calling God has placed on our lives.
Vocation is the culmination of God’s calling specifically in our work. While we can work simply to obtain a paycheck, God desires so much more. From the very beginning, God tasked us to be good stewards of the work He’s given us to do.
Genesis 2:15 (NIV) states, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” This means that work was God’s design. Interesting, isn’t it? We aren’t meant to work simply to work—we’re called to take care in our work. Our work inherently has purpose and meaning.
What are vocations?
God equipped us with passions and gifts for a reason: to serve Him and His kingdom.
Rather than working aimlessly, vocation operates with the gifts we’ve been given and the skill sets we’ve developed. They can include everything from entrepreneurship, welding, and marketing, to homemaking, financial advising, and pet-sitting. It combines practical knowledge and training with God-given wisdom and peace.
Vocations don’t need to be in a religious or church setting, although they can be. We can serve wherever we are, just as we are, with our particular skills and knowledge.
Above all, our identity must be rooted in Christ and His finished work on the cross. It is important to remember that our work cannot be where we derive our sense of ultimate meaning.
Entrepreneurship: finding a job you love
So what does this look like in our lives? How do we know if we’ve found the right vocation?
The first step is to ask:
How do the gifts and passions God has given me align with a particular line of work, workplace, or task?
Entrepreneurship in and of itself is a vocation. It’s an adventure—with purpose.
For example: Perhaps you’ve always had a gift for baking. Maybe your chocolate cake has always sold first at the church bake sale, and neighbors request special cookies for their children’s birthday parties.
You feel a sense of fulfillment each time you bake, knowing that in some small way you’ve brought joy and light into someone’s day. In this case, your gifts (baking) combined with your passions (bringing joy) can lead to a vocation (running a bakery).
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize, and sometimes it isn’t always financially possible to chase our vocation at a particular moment. However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t ever be in our future. Sometimes our dreams come to fruition a bit differently than we imagined.
However, when God is in charge of our stories, we can rest knowing He has our best in mind. We can dream big and give our vocations to Him.
When we start to lean into our passions we often ask: “Is this even practical? Can I really find part of my meaning in my work?”
Yes and no.
Our identity is so much more than our work. Our identity comes from God alone. We can easily make work an idol just like anything else, so it’s important to be mindful of the choices we make. We should always seek guidance from God and note if our options would take us closer to Him or further from His heart.
With that in mind, God has given us desires and talents that uniquely show up in each one of our lives. We can intentionally choose to pursue more of those things that make our hearts soar. If our work is draining our souls, wearing on our family, or causing a sense of dread, that might mean it’s time for a change.
Part of the purpose God has for our lives can be fulfilled through our vocations. If we’re looking at our work simply through the eyes of a “job,” perhaps we need either a perspective transformation or a purposeful work change.
We are called to “take care” in our work. If we wake up each day with drudgery beyond the normal tiredness from a task well-fulfilled, it might mean God is asking us to move to a new position, place, or role. If we sense that God is leading us in a new direction, He might be calling us to take a leap of faith. Starting a business can be a challenge, but God’s plan isn’t thwarted by our circumstances.
One person’s journey through entrepreneurship or the workforce will look different from another, even if those two individuals have the same role. Thus, it’s important to keep our eyes on Christ and run the race that He has set before us. Exploring vocations is exciting—so take on the adventure with an open heart and concentration on God.
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