There is beauty and brokenness in every vocational industry. Redemptive edges are the parts of our work that have the potential of brokenness turning into beauty through gospel transformation. What would the redemptive edge of your industry look like if Jesus were lord of it? Perhaps more practically and personally, what would it look like if Jesus was the CEO at your job? How would it impact culture, the city, and the world?
Understand God’s design for work and focus on discovering your own vocational calling,
as it relates to God’s heart for restoration and redemption. Over the course of this lesson, we hope you will…
- Learn how vocational calling fits into the broader biblical narrative.
- Apply your learnings from the Identity modules to codify your burdens, gifts, and passions.
- Process with a partner about what you are discovering about your calling.
- Reflect to that same growth partner what you see as his/her passions and calling.
- Share the burdens, gifts and passions exercise with someone new.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”EPHESIANS 2:10 (ESV)
UNDERSTAND | Why Our Work Matters:
As people bearing the image of God, we are called to fill the earth with His glory through creating what we commonly call “culture.” Another term for this is God’s “cultural mandate,” – the command to exercise dominion over the earth, subdue it, and develop it’s potential (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15). In her book Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey says it well:
“Our calling is not just to ‘go to heaven’ but also to cultivate the earth, not just to ‘save souls’ but also to serve God through our work. For God himself is engaged not only in the work of salvation but also in the work of preserving and developing His creation. When we obey the Cultural Mandate, we participate in the work of God himself.”
Simply put, the idea of the cultural mandate is that God entrusts us with something, and He calls us to do something with it, something worthwhile, something that fills the earth with more justice, more health, making it more glorious, more like Him.
During your twenties, there is an opportunity and a freedom to explore what God might be entrusting you with. Often it takes time for men and women to hit their stride in their vocational calling. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process. As you experience a growing awareness of how God is forming you, God will also be giving you unique burdens for the needs of the world.
“How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life?”DOROTHY SAYERS
The first step of discovering vocational calling is seeing how your story fits into the greater story of redemption. When we understand the story of God, we have a context by which we can understand the role of vocation as it relates to revealing Jesus to the world. His redemption goes far beyond personal salvation. God uses vocational callings to bring redemption to whole industries. The Wall Street banker no longer seeks glory and power for herself, but rather fuels an economy that impacts for good. The fashion designer creates clothes worn to enhance the dignity and God-given beauty of people. NYC pastor, Jon Tyson, says, “It’s about showing the world what the world is like when Jesus is Lord of it.” Work is meant, by God’s design to bless us, others, and the environment God created us to dwell in.
PRACTICE | Burdens, Passions, Gifts
Take some time to explore your own gifts and passions, as they relate to your vocation, calling, and the needs of the world. Refer back to the ‘Your Design’ module, where you did a personality assessment. With a bit more of your story as the context, ask God to give you a greater vision for how He’s made you.
Reminder: You don’t have to know or solve everything here. This is just a starting point.
The first step of identifying calling is seeing how our story fits into the greater story of redemption. God often gives us a recurring and growing interest and awareness of a need He is leading us to. What do you find compelling as you consider the needs of this world? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What grieves you?
- What evokes anger?
- How do you want to participate in Jesus’ transformation of dead things?
Learning what breathes life into us can help dictate how we leverage our energy in the workplace. What gives you a sense of delight and rest when completed? Ask yourself the following questions:
- When have you ever felt the emotion, “This is why I am here!”?
- What would you do for free?
- What do you naturally find yourself always doing/drawn towards/ reading about?
There’s no question we can all improve in different areas and acquire skills, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort to do something well that you’re not naturally suited for. Think about the different dynamics of your life. What do you tend to do effortlessly? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is something you naturally do with ease?
- In what area do others ask you for help?
- What did you love doing as a child?
Take some time to consider your burdens, passions, and gifts. Make some connections and record your responses to these questions.
Share with your process partner insight you have gotten as it relates to your vocational calling and the burdens God is putting on your heart. Or perhaps you find yourself confused and concerned about your vocation. Share your process.
- What was confirming?
- What was surprising?
- What was freeing?
- What scared you?
If you took a personality assessment during Discover Your Design spend some time discussing any insights and reactions you had to taking it and seeing your results. Take time to reflect to one another the gifts and passions you see in him/her. Speak words of life into one another. Pray together that God would raise up your generation to say “yes” to the vocational call of Jesus on their lives
ACT | Share with a Friend
Think about your circles of friends and co- -workers. Who do you observe is thriving in pursuing their calling? Have a conversation with them and walk through the burdens/gifts/passions diagram to see where there are natural overlaps in their life. How might you encourage them to “excel still more” in honing the gifts and passions God has entrusted to them? How have they encouraged you to think through your own diagram more creatively?
Use these questions to help get your conversation started:
- What grabs your attention no matter what you are doing (think like a dog chasing a tennis ball)?
- What is something you believe that almost nobody agrees with you on?
- What are you willing to try now?
- Looking back on your career, 20 or 30 years from now, what do you want to say you’ve accomplished?
“The Great King has summoned each of us into His throne room. Take this portion of my kingdom, He says, I am making you my steward over your office, your workbench, your kitchen stove. Put your heart into mastering this part of my world. Get it in order; unearth its treasures; do all you can with it. Then everyone will see what a glorious King I am. That’s why we get up every morning and go to work. We don’t labor simply to sur- vive; insects do that. Our work is an honor, a privileged commission from our great King. God has given each of us a portion of His kingdom to explore and to develop to its fullness. ”RICHARD PRATT