What is your calling in life? (Friday Favorites)

I read this article while running on the treadmill (reading while running is the treadmill's saving grace):

Some of my favorite passages:

Doing God’s Work

First, we need to explore what we mean by a “calling in life.” The idea of a professional calling was brought into focus by Martin Luther, who revolutionized how the world looked at work. Prior to Luther, people viewed work as a necessary evil at best. Luther, however, saw the fallacy in this attitude. His study of the Bible convinced him that work is how we participate in God’s providence toward His children. Lee Hardy, a scholar of Luther’s teachings, noted, “As we pray each morning for our daily bread, people are already busy at work in the bakeries.”1

Luther also taught how to find your calling. It was pretty simple: your calling was to do whatever your station in life dictated. If you grew up in a cobbler shop, your calling was to make shoes. And doing so, you participated in the work of God by covering the feet of His children. Luther believed that virtually any type of work could be a calling, so long as it rendered service to mankind.

John Calvin elaborated on Luther’s ideas in a way that may make them seem a little more applicable to us today. For Calvin, it wasn’t our position in the social structure that determined God’s calling for us. Rather, he argued that God endows each of us with particular talents and gifts, and that it is our calling to discover those gifts and seek ways to use them in the service of our fellowmen. As he put it, “For as God bestows any ability or gift upon any of us, he binds us to such as have need of us and as we are able to help.”2


Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature who studied and taught about hero myths, introduced the phrase “follow your bliss” back in the 1970s. The idea was that heroes don’t chase money or prestige; they look into their hearts to find their passion and then pursue it.5 Now you see the phrase “follow your bliss” everywhere. Later, Campbell developed misgivings about how people were using the phrase. It was reported that he quipped, “What I should have said was, ‘Follow your blisters.’” You may do the most important, exciting work in the world. Nonetheless, some days will be mundane and no fun at all. You will be called upon to sacrifice. Don’t expect deep meaning without paying the price for it.
& my favorite, for obvious reasons:

Allow me to share a simple experience from my mission. As I was nearing my release date, I anticipated a sense of loss when I could no longer give all my time to serving God. At a zone conference, I raised my hand and asked the mission president, “After our missions are over and we are no longer full-time servants of God, how can we keep a sense of purpose?” Before the mission president could answer, his wife leapt to her feet and said, “I’ll take this one.”

I will never forget her response. “When I do the laundry,” she said, “I am building the kingdom of God. When I scrub the floors, I am serving the Lord. When I tidy the clutter, I’m an instrument in His hands. I do a lot of mundane jobs, but if my eye is single to God and I’m trying to serve my family, then I feel as much purpose in my work as a missionary can.” Those words remind me of what King Benjamin said about laboring in the fields to support himself—a decidedly unkingly occupation. He said, “I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God” (Mosiah 2:16).

Read the whole article here: What is your Calling in Life?


jenifer said…
oh how i needed to read this today! i went to an institute class on tuesday about the house of israel... and since then i've been worried that i'm missing my "calling." blah. at what age do we change our answers from "i want to be the first girl president" to "this is it... what i am and what i want to be." maybe this is my year.
jenifer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiffanie said…
I found your blog trying to find this article, great stuff! I have 8 kids too, looks like you've got great stuff here and probably some sane advice that will help me as I see what's helping you, look forward to reading more. :)

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