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Work/Vocations/Callings (Part 3)

"A “calling” or “vocation” is common to all members of the “church” or “ekklesia” (from the Greek verb “ekkaleo,” which means “to call out”). We are all “called” “according to his purpose” (Rom 8: 28) for each of us, according to our specific, God-given gifts and character. But it is not easy to discern God’s voice in our lives (our specific “calling”), because we are burdened with other voices. They pull us away from being ourselves, the “selves” God wants us to be, and into a mainstream of popular masks behind which most of us feel safe." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

Vocation comes from the Latin vocari which means to call. In Greek: klisis means calling. Vocation is our response to God’s call to serve Him. We have a primary and a secondary vocation. Our primary vocation is to have union with God and become Christ-like in all that we say and do. Our secondary vocation, or vocations, are what we do in our lives that enables us to express this Christ-likeness. Everybody has been called to serve in some specific way. God wants each and every person to utilize his or her talents according to His purpose.” (Fr. Jim Katinas, Sacramental Living)

“God calls us to people and situations sometimes according to our gifting, but sometimes despite our lack of gifting. For example, he chose Moses and Paul to speak for Him despite their lack of ability to do so (Exodus 4:10 and 2 Corinthians 10:10). It seems that sometimes availability is often just as important as ability when it comes to doing God’s will as it pertains to a specific circumstance.” (Sacramental Living Blog) “As with Paul, God's intentions for a person may lie hidden for years…Our salvation and calling are based on His grace and love, not on anything we have done to merit God's favor.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Galatians 1:13-17, 1 Timothy 1:9)

“There is no higher calling or privilege in life than to know Him and make Him known to others.” (Bill Bright and John Damoose)

“New and former sins continue to flare up in our hearts and souls. We are called to continually purify and cleanse every trace of sin that grows within us…It is the internal struggles that we are called to fight: struggles against temptations, against our passions, against idolatry and unfaithfulness. But so long as we are caught up with the distractions of our outward concerns which focus on our own desires, then we cannot begin the true work of the soul." (OCPM 12/13/2015, Father Spyridon Baily)

“We are called to be a part of one another’s lives. We are to learn, share, pray, and worship together. As a body of believers, God expects us to have great concern for our fellow believers and to help one another mature.” (Foundation Study Bible, Acts 2:42-47)

“In our spiritual lives, we’re called to avoid intoxicants…when our spiritual sobriety is impaired, the result can be anger, fear, resentment, lust, pride, and ignorance. We make destructive choices when we’re under the influence, and then we compound the damage by proudly refusing to repent…Moving toward sobriety in our spiritual lives takes time, effort, and humility…The virtue of sobriety in our Christian lives is key to gaining both spiritual healing and maturity.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“As Christians we know that salvation is an ongoing process we are called to cooperate in. We are instructed to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). The Apostle Paul made this clear when he told us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13).” (Abbot Tryphon)

“We are all going to die, and then, there will be a judgment before the Lord. Everyone who has ever lived, is going to be gathered before the Lord, and as a defendant before a judge, we will each be called upon to give an account of our lives. That accounting will be based on one thing: love. Did we love God? Did we love our neighbor?” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Classical Christianity does not have a model for how men and women fit within a workforce, for the simple reason that our place in the workforce is not fundamental to what it means to be human.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The purpose of our life is to glorify Christ. In turn, He shows us His glory, in ways large and small, each day.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Our human vocation, outside the Garden, is to continually reorient our lives. We have fallen away from what is most natural to us, and we must therefore reorient our bodies, minds, and souls toward God…Our human vocation is fulfilled, and so are we, when we live in the present with the intention of discovering and witnessing God’s presence in every person, place, and circumstance.” (Kevin Scherer)

“The word vocations is not simply the plural of vocation; at least not in the Christian context… We have one vocation, but many vocations… Our vocation is our primary call, which is to follow Christ, enter into a relationship with Him, and allow Him to transform us... and become more and more Christ-like. We express this Christ-likeness in our vocations or secondary calls. Our secondary calls are our vocations which can be careers, jobs, and our roles as spouses, parents, family members and friends. It is essentially to do the work Christ calls us to do, whatever that may be at the different stages of our lives.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Everything you do, all your work, can contribute towards your salvation. It depends on you, on the way you do it.” (Elder Sophrony)

“Paul, called (κλητὸς) by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, (1 Cor 1:)...St. Paul himself is “called,” as are the people to whom he writes –not only at Corinth in the first century, -but “in every place” and throughout the ages, and today, wherever we are, who “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As “church” or “ekklesia” we are “the ones called forth” (the Greek word “ekklesia” comes from “ekkaleo,” to call forth or call out), to be “saints” and “sanctified,” which means dedicated to Him." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"We are all called to be saints and yet not all respond to this call. To become a saint is to fulfill the will of Him Who created us in His image…We are all called to be saints, and yet not all respond to this call, because the task is very difficult and the way is narrow." (Archimandrite Sergius)

“As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew)

“We may be “called” to various vocations during the course of our lifetime. However, as Christians, whatever those vocations may be, we are all, and at all times, called by God to grow in Christ through the Holy Spirit, and to be a manifestation of His light in everything we say and do.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Believers are not to stand idly gazing up into heaven, but rather are called to virtuous faith and action in this world until Christ's return.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 1:9-11)“…the word “sanctified,” which means “clothed in holiness,” to be pure in Christ. God establishes the lives of all His servants on a divine foundation, so that every thought, word, and deed draws life from the Life-giver. Whatever our career, job, or calling, we are to use it for God.” (OCPM 9/23/2016)

"Work is proper to the human person and expresses the dignity of being created in the image of God…We were created with a vocation to work...Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment.” (Pope Francis)

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

“You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the meaning of your life.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“God has a purpose for each Christian, but some people are appointed by God for specific kinds of work....Whatever work you do should be done for the glory of God....If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerfully and do it with diligence. If God has not given you a specific call or assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers—to love, obey, and serve God—until His guidance becomes more clear.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 1:5)

Our work should reflect our faithfulness and love of Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 6:1,2)

“We’re to express our relationship with God and his grace to us in the way we speak, work, and lead, not as perfect exemplars but as pointers to Christ.” (Katherine Leary Alsdorf)

“Work of all kinds, whether with the hands or the mind, evidences our dignity as human beings—because it reflects the image of God the Creator in us.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person and…undermines society itself.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"Instead of focusing first on how to use our gifts or our vocations, it seems better to first focus on love and let our gifts and vocations support this focus since the former is eternal and the latter is temporal.” (Sacramental Living)

“Are you listening for God? Step back from the noise and activity of your busy life and listen humbly and quietly for His guidance. It may come when you least expect it.” (Life Application Study Bible – 1 Kings 19:11-13)

“Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those requiring physical effort or involving great emotion…When you feel let down after a great spiritual experience, remember that God’s purpose for your life is not yet over.” (Life Application Study Bible – 1 Kings 19:3)

“…success is only found if we are all true to the purpose and work which has been"prepared in advance” for us to do; if we are content to act within providence, rather than take matters into our own hands.” (Greg Wright)

“Waiting for God to work does not mean sitting around doing nothing. We must do what we can, while we can, as long as we don’t run ahead of God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 1:15- 26)

"There are many ways to fulfill God's commands but only one way to fulfill God's will and that is to listen to His voice in your own personal life." (A.K. Frailey)

“There is a difference between a calling and discontent. A calling by God leads us to do His will even in the simplest and most ordinary of daily events. Discontent is a continual search for something to fill an aching emptiness which we cannot define. Discontent is often associated with the need to fulfill His will through a desire to follow our own whims. As we strive to answer the voice of our Lord, we have to contend with many issues. The first is to ascertain whether we are truly called to make a change or deepen our commitment with a specific action or whether we are simply bored with life and looking for a little excitement. Our unhappy feelings may not stem from being on the wrong path as much as not having the right will. We may be doing what we are supposed to be doing in all its perfect regularity and unexciting nature but we have lost – or never actually had – the will to do it.” (A.K. Frailey)

“No one is competent to carry out the responsibilities of God’s calling in his or her strength. Without the Holy Spirit’s enabling, our natural talent can carry us only so far.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:4-5)

“Therefore, we must cooperate with God the Holy Spirit. Stop looking at the things which are seen, but [look steadily] at the things which are not seen then our affliction, which is but for a moment may actually become our secret advantage, working...a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It is possible to say that the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. Such is the renewing process we call the Life in Christ. Yes, living in this spiritual manner is a demanding balancing-act, trusting God as we struggle with forces and temptations coming upon us from every side.” (Dynamis 8/17/2012)

“When God gives us a course of action, we must move steadfast toward our destination, regardless of the potential hazards that await us there.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 9:51)

“The daily demands on our lives are not necessarily threats to the fulfillment of our vocation [2nd call above]; they are all part of what it means to be called by God. Because vocation – the second meaning of call – is only part of what it means to be Christian, we must see our specific and unique vocation within the context of all that it means to be called a Christian.” (Gordon T. Smith).

“There are three expressions of vocation (or calling). 1) The general call; the invitation to follow Jesus, to be Christian; 2) The specific call: a vocation that is unique to each person, an individual’s mission to the world; and 3) the immediate call: the tasks or duties to which God call each person at the present time.” (Gordon T. Smith)

“A sign that we are growing in Christ’s love is an increasing appreciation and thankfulness in our hearts for all that we have been given by God, despite any trials we may be facing. When we have moments when we really feel this in our hearts, we are shifting our thought and focus from ourselves to something outside of ourselves – God. This shift in thought is the beginning of our spiritual growth and that is why nothing is more acceptable to God as our thankfulness for His grace.” (Sacramental Living)

“It is very easy for us to feel profoundly sorry for ourselves when we struggle with substantial health or family problems. But few things cut of joy and vocational vitality quite like self-pity. Invariably, people who thrive in life and work are those who learn the power of gratitude, hope and faith in the midst of darkness and pain.” (Gordon T. Smith)

“The truth is that every time a door closes behind us, the rest of the world opens up in front of us. All we need to do is stop pounding on the door that is closed, and see the largeness of life that now lies open to our soul.” (Gordon T. Smith)

“Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the requests of your heart. Reveal your way to Him; and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:4-5)

“God calls us to commitment.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 9:15, 16)

“… work is not just a job. It is the many roles we play in life – employee or employer, student, spouse, parent, and friend...Our primary call to God is to acquire more and more of Christ’s divine nature over the course of our lives in whatever manner of work (our secondary callings and the specifics), He calls us to do. This simply means that every day, we should do to the best of our ability the task before us with a heart and mindset that in doing so we are glorifying God with our talents and abilities He gave us. In this manner, we sanctify our work and grow in God’s grace.” (Os Guinness, Sacramental Living)

“If you are called to something, there must be a caller. As Christians we believe that caller is God. …. we have a primary call and a secondary call. Our primary call is to follow Christ and strive to be like Him. Our secondary call is essentially to the work Christ calls us to do, whatever that may be at the different stages of our lives.” (The Call, Sacramental Living)

“…success is only found if we are all true to the purpose and work which has been"prepared in advance” for us to do; if we are content to act within providence, rather than take matters into our own hands.” (Greg Wright)

“The more resources, talents and understanding we have, the more we are required to use them effectively.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 12:48)

“God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)

“We are to work, not for personal gain and luxury, but in order to serve.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 4:28)

“People become involved in ministry [or any good works] for a variety of reasons, not all of them pure…When you bet involved in ministry, do so out of love for Christ and others.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 2:3

“God gives us talents and gifts so we can do for one another what He wants to do for us and through us.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Whatever gifts God has given to His people are to be used for the glory of God and in a spirit of love” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:7-11)

“Accept your limitations with the same humility that you accept the strengths God has given you.” (2 Corinthians 11:6)"Our abilities should be faithfully used in serving others; none are for our exclusive enjoyment. Some people, well aware of their abilities, believe that they have the right to use their abilities as they please. Others feel that they have no special talents at all….Everyone has some gifts; find yours and use them.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:10-11)

“In His grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts…” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 11)

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all…” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

“In a world where people have on average three to four different careers in their work lives, it is perfectly natural that changing careers may be necessary to maximize fruitfulness. God can—and often does—change what he calls us to do.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Don’t treat your present situation lightly or irresponsibly; it may be God’s training ground for your future.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 78: 71, 72)

“Just because you cannot realize your highest aspirations in work does not mean you have chosen wrongly, or are not called to your profession, or that you should spend your life looking for the perfect career that is devoid of frustration. That would be a fruitless search for anyone. You should expect to be regularly frustrated in your work even though you may be in exactly the right vocation” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Our daily work can be a calling only if it is reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Some people feel they are"called” to a certain type of work…Os Guinness, author of The Call points out what should be obvious. If you are called to something, there must be a caller. As Christians we believe that caller is God. Guinness explains that we have a primary call and a secondary call. Our primary call is to follow Christ and strive to be like Him. Our secondary call is essentially to the work Christ calls us to do, whatever that may be at the different stages of our lives.” (Sacramental Living)

“Genesis chapter one is all about work. God sanctified work and demonstrated its importance through His own action of doing it…God’s first action is also creating. The famous author J.R.R. Tolkien said that through our work and what we create we are acting as a reflection of God and actually doing God’s will because we are"sub-creators” using the talents, abilities, aptitudes and desires He gave us. It doesn’t matter if it is art, writing, painting, engineering and scientific feats, gardening around your house, or even chores. When we apply our minds and talents to any task to the best of our ability, in service of others, and with integrity, we are reflecting God.” (Sacramental Living)

“Competent work is a form of love” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Your daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped you to do it—no matter what kind of work it is.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“If laypeople cannot find any spiritual meaning in their work, they are condemned to living a certain dual life; not connecting what they do on Sunday morning with what they do the rest of the week. They need to discover that the very actions of daily life are spiritual, and enable . . . people to touch God in the world, not away from it. Such a spirituality will say . . . ‘Your work is your prayer.” (William Diehl)

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