Drinking Deeply

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Calling vs. Career

Over at 22 Words, Abraham Piper put up a fairly provocative post on calling vs. career. Since his posts are short, I'm going to quote the whole thing -

God wants policemen and preachers, mechanics and missionaries.

Nevertheless, one category seems like ordinary work, while the other is a calling.

Why?

Lots of good comments there, posting against the physical/spiritual dualistic mindset. But I went a little against the grain and threw out this thought -

I agree with everyone above, but I wanted to throw something alongside what everyone’s said before. Yes, God calls us to obedience in whatever field we do. Yes there is not a difference (brownie pointswise) between “ministry” as a pastor and “ministry” as an engineer.

But alongside that, I think there actually is something good in using the term “calling” rather than “career” for pastoral positions. This isn’t fully fleshed out, but some basic thoughts -

I think the term “calling” actually is a biblical reflection. The OT prophets were “called.” Paul was “called” to be an apostle. In order to raise up elders, they prayed and laid hands on them, so there certainly is something special there.

I think we do want to maintain an emphasis upon the seriousness and soberness with which our preachers labor - that they are shepherds and going to be held accountable as teachers. I think using the term “calling” is helpful for that.

Any thoughts?

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Blogger Eric said...

So we're talking connotation here and not denotation.

I think you make a fine distinction--so long as you maintain that calling and career denote nothing different than "one's life work." Otherwise, it's too easy to denote calling as something special. It certainly connotes a special, somber responsibility--but doesn't necessarily impute upon such work as more "glorious," "dignified," or "better."

Alright; enough of that. :) All said, I agree w/ your distinction.  

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