Do you have a JOB, CAREER, or CALLING?


Which one do you want to have, and what's the difference?

JOB - I am very thankful to live in a time and nation where most people retain the option of getting a job. I recognize that many millions in the world do not have access to adequate work, so I am grateful for jobs that enable a functional society and make a way for people to provide for themselves and their loved ones. However, a job is mostly about survival. A person gets a job in order to pay the bills, buy food, and avoid living on the street. Someone with a job mindset does not (usually) wake up excited about getting to work. They don't get there early or stay late voluntarily. It's kind of a "Thank God it's Friday...oh God it's Monday" type of mindset. In Bible college, I cleaned the men's dorm community bathrooms. "Gross" is an understatement. Especially the last year, I HATED it. But I continued working because it was a way to help get through school. One works a job because they HAVE to. It is transactional and about survival. Some people find they enjoy their job and keep at it for years because it matches their skills and abilities. Some even decide to turn it into a career. More power to you if you do that. I fault no one who works jobs their whole life to provide for their needs. Just having a job is a blessing.

A Job = Survival / I do it because I have to.

CAREER: While a job is mostly about survival, a career is more about success, security, and perhaps status. (Yes, I do love alliteration.) Many times people work at a job while preparing for a career. Or they may find that their job can be turned into a career. We pursue or work in a career field because we want to, (at least at first. People make career changes fairly often, but not as often as job changes). One invests more into their career, education for example, and in turn they (hopefully) reap more benefits. These might include higher salary, medical coverage, a retirement plan, and a title /rank, or access to social groups. While I hope we all want to be successful, a career may bring with it a temptation to make one's work a self-centered experience. Even in a career setting, it takes a special team to embrace true loyalty and commitment to their people and the organization.

A Career = Success / Security / Status / I do it because I want to.

CALLING: This is the sweet spot. When a person is operating in their calling, they are truly no longer in service of themselves, but live for something greater that their own success. One's job or career may in fact be their calling, but not always. Sometimes people work in a job or career so they have the resources to fulfill their calling. Other times one's work IS their calling. I remember when my son had one of his many surgeries when he was little. My pastor was with me in the waiting room and the surgeon came out to talk to us. After he explained what was going to happen it was apparent that he was a very capable medical professional and my son was in good hands. My pastor said to me, "That is a man operating in his calling." He was right and I was thankful to be on the receiving end of it.

With calling may come sacrifice. A calling is not always enjoyable and can prove very painful at times. This is because sometimes one must die to their own desires in order to fulfill their life's purpose. I think of when our nation asked George Washington to lead the country after the Revolutionary War. Having already endured so much, he would have much preferred to return to a simple life of farming. But his life's purpose was not over, and he knew it. It required him to deny himself the peaceful, simple future he wanted to fulfill what he was called to do. Additionally, when one lives their calling, he or she can endure just about anything. This is because a calling is not about survival or success, it's about significance.

A Calling = Significance / Sacrifice / I do it because I am meant to.

Job...Career...Calling...Which one do you have? Perhaps you have more than one of them. Maybe you have never thought of it like this. I believe every person has a calling no matter how old they are. You can lose your job or career, but you cannot lose your calling. Romans 11:29 declares, "God's gifts and calling are irrevocable." That is to say, your calling is as permanent as your DNA and cannot be lost. It may need to be discovered or developed, but it is already in you. If you don't know what it is, pray and ask God to show you. Also look inside yourself and ask, "What am I passionate about that is not just about me?" Then serve that cause in any way you can. At the end of your life, you'll be glad you did.

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