Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Your Irrevocable Calling

Yesteday I joined the ranks of the unemployed.

After nearly 10 years with the company, I was let go—along with most of the rest of my department.

Back in the fall of 2005 when my wife's department (with the same company) was given their pink slips due to a move out of state, one of her coworkers received the following in his inbox that very morning. I've saved it because it's a great reminder of the attitude we need to keep in times of uncertainty. This morning I forwarded it on to those of us who got the axe yesterday and now I want to share it with others as well. It comes from Os Hillman.

For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. ~ Romans 11:29

It is dangerous to align your calling and your vocation as dependent on each other. God calls us into relationship with Him. That is our foremost calling. It is from this relationship that our "physical" calling results. Whether that is to be a teacher, a stockbroker, a nurse, a pastor, or any number of vocations, we must realize that when He calls us, the change in vocation never changes His call on our lives. It is a mere change in the landscape of our calling. This is why it is dangerous to associate our purpose and calling too closely with our work. When we define our work life exclusively as our calling, we fall into the trap of locking up our identity into our vocation. This promotes aspiration because of a need to gain greater self-worth
through what we do.

Os Guinness, author of The Call, describes the great artist Picasso, who fell into this trap.

"When a man knows how to do something," Pablo Picasso told a friend, "he ceases being a man when he stops doing it." The result was a driven man. Picasso's gift, once idolized, held him in thrall. Every empty canvass was an affront to his creativity. Like an addict, he made work his source of satisfaction only to find himself dissatisfied. "I have only one thought: work," Picasso said toward the end of his life, when neither his family nor his friends could help him relax.
[Os Guiness, The Call (Nashville, Tennessee: Word Publishing, 1998), 242.]

What happens when you lose your job? Do you lose your calling? Do you lose your identity? Do you lose your sense of well-being? No. Calling involves different stages and experiences in life. Disruptions in your work are an important training ground for God to fulfill all aspects of His calling on your life. Trust in your God who says your calling is irrevocable and that all things come from Him.

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