By Jeremy Robertson
January 31, 2024

Recovering vocation 

Explore how to bridge the gap between faith and work, and find out why reclaiming a sense of vocation matters in the modern workplace.

Together, let’s recover our sense of vocation.

You might have heard someone say, “I don’t know how to live out my faith at work.” Maybe a friend or coworker has said this. Maybe you feel this. Faith matters to us, but we struggle to take it beyond the walls of the church building and into the office building.  

Well-meaning people might respond to your search for faith in the workplace by quoting Colossians 3:23-24.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

This passage from Colossians 3 serves as a powerful call to action. The reader is meant to consider the context in which God has placed them and to use their position to honor God in their vocation.  

Sadly though, this simple but powerful call to action is often reduced to a platitude – a phrase that is used so often it ceases to be interesting or thought-provoking. Sure, “work for the Lord,” but what does that mean in my 8 AM-5 PM, Monday-Friday job?

The Barna Group, a faith-based research organization, has discovered a growing disconnect between what occurs in the church building versus what occurs in the workplace. Faith has become something practiced at church, but people do not know how to practice faith on the job. The church has not adequately helped connect the dots between the two contexts, leaving many to feel as if faith does not have a place at work.

What is the remedy? Surely, we cannot be content with dropping faith next to the office welcome mat only to pick it up when we leave at the end of the day. 

The first place to start is a recovery of “vocation.” In our vernacular, the word “vocation” has become synonymous with the word “job.” But the concept of vocation carries more significance. Vocation is derived from the Latin word vocare meaning “to name or call.”

A vocation is given by a “caller.” For those who believe in a God who created each individual with unique gifts and talents, you can see the connection to vocation. God made us. God knows us and He has a good plan for our lives. This plan for your life is your vocation.

Your vocation is comprised of various activities, including your job, that God created you to perform. Your vocation is a fulfillment of God’s design for you. Living into your vocation will naturally result in service or benefit to others and a connection between faith and work.

As Steve Garber puts it, “Work, yes, but also families, and neighbors, and citizenship, locally and globally – all of this and more is seen as vocation, that to which I am called as a human being, living my life before the face of God.”

Understanding your vocation demands an answer to the question, “What am I here for?” That question has implications for your whole life, but it certainly also has implications for your job. “Why has God gifted me with these skills and passions? How am I using my unique giftedness to honor God in my workplace? How am I helping accomplish Kingdom purposes while on the job?” A robust answer to these questions will instill a deep sense of vocation while at work.

The purpose of this column going forward is to help readers recover a sense of vocation. My desire for you and for me is to practice the commission of Colossians 3: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

I invite you to consider the specific context God has placed you in. Consider the gifts, talents, and passions He has placed inside of you. And consider how you can use your unique vocation to honor God. I hope to help readers concretely connect the dots between the faith practiced at church and the opportunity to practice vocation in the workplace.  

Together, let’s recover our sense of vocation.

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About Jeremy Robertson

Jeremy Robertson has served as a Minister at the Edmond Church of Christ since 2010. After 13 years of Youth Ministry, he transitioned to Family Life Ministry in 2013. He graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in Ministry/Bible and later earned a master’s degree in Family Life Ministry from OC. In his role, Jeremy leads ministry and outreach efforts for marriage enrichment, young adults, men’s and women’s ministry, and other family life contexts. He and his wife Ashley have two sons.