Faith Friday: Is My Job The Same As My Calling?

Reader Question

Note: By request of our blog readers, we’re going to answer reader-submitted questions related to our blog from a faith perspective. We do this on Friday’s. If you’re not interested, no worries, just skip the post. To submit a question, you can post a comment or contact me.

Thank you to the reader who asked the question, “Is my job the same as my calling?” It’s a good question because it hits on the innate longing to become who you were made to be and do what you were made to do. I don’t know anyone who wants to live a wasted life, but I know many who want to live a fulfilled one. Living your calling is a way to get there.

Is your job the same as your calling?

I would say no, for three reasons.

Your calling is the purpose for which God created you, while your job is a means to make a living.
You may not believe it, but you were made for a purpose. In the Bible, God says to Jeremiah, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Even before Jeremiah was formed in the womb, God set aside a purpose for him.

You’re no Jeremiah, but you are the only you. And if you’re here and breathing—and I take it you are—then God created you for a reason. Annie Dillard wrote, “I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.” I would not describe a job in the same way. Your job is a means to make a living.

Your calling informs the way you were formed, whereas a job simply makes use of it.
Notice in Jeremiah 1:5 that the choosing of Jeremiah as a prophet happened before he was formed. Jeremiah’s calling informed the way he was formed. Think of this concept as Designer’s Intent. God the Father decided who he wanted Jeremiah to be, and based on that intent, He designed Jeremiah the way he did.

It’s the same with you. Before you were formed, God the Father decided who He wanted you to be, then He poured in all sorts of goodness to help you become it. Your calling informed the way you were formed. But it’s not the same with a job. A job can make use of what you were given, but you weren’t given them for a specific job. You were given them for your calling.

While your job may help you fulfill your calling, your calling is more than your job.
Jeremiah’s calling was to be a prophet to the nations. This followed him wherever he went. Your job may actually pay you for spending time on your calling, but it may not. Both are okay. Your calling doesn’t have to be paid, but your calling does need a way out.

As Dale Partridge writes, your calling is “your heart’s song. It is the song playing in your brain all the time.” Your great work is to let your song be sung, wherever it may be sung, whenever it may be sung. Dear Reader, whether you get paid for your calling or not, sing the song that only you can sing!

A few questions back at you:

  • In what ways are you living out your calling through your job?
  • How satisfied are you with how that’s going?
  • What can you start doing today to press more into your calling?

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Chris believes you can love your work. He's the Vice President of Human Resources for EnergyCAP, Inc., where he helps employees to succeed. He's also a Certified Professional Life Coach and a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach. He loves to coach people, write, and speak around the topics of engagement, coaching, strengths, and growth. He blogs often at ChrisHeinz.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Faith Friday: Is My Job The Same As My Calling?

  1. So the follow up question is: how the heck do I know what my “calling” is…

    As you said, I am not Jeremiah. So I do not have the luxury of having God himself spell out in scripture what my individual calling is; the purpose for why God created me. But just like Jeremiah, I long to know what that is.

    I know what my job is. I get up every day and do it. I know what I enjoy to do: my job. I am blessed to be one of the few that actually loves the job I do. I am not sure there is really any way for me to deterministically KNOW what my calling is apart from God telling me. He is after all the one who created me and defined my calling/purpose. There are many that I talk to that say, “Yes I KNOW what my calling is.” So I ask them how God told them. I have never really heard an answer that is very acceptable to me…

    Mark