Vocation vs. Occupation…Excerpt from “Conversations with Max”

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Conversations with Max, Devotionals

This might be a perfect place to bring up subject near and dear to my heart…the difference between occupation and vocation. In a nutshell it’s the difference we outlined above, that is work that is done half-heartedly, and work done from the heart. Remember when your granddad used to say, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? That’s the crux of the thought. Occupation means just what it sounds like. I’m occupying space and taking up air, hanging on ‘til Jesus comes back. Vocation implies someone is calling, which further implies that someone is listening. If God is calling and you are listening, do whatever comes to your hand and you’ll probably be happy. Even more importantly, and I believe this is the pint of all good things God gives us, it will probably make us more holy…as we grapple with the real-life issues of work and contentment. But you’ve got to be paying attention. You’ve got to be listening. I think it is incumbent upon us as dads to help our sons understand how to recognize the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember when Samuel was called? He had no clue who it was that kept waking him up in the middle of the night until his mentor-priest (Eli) caught on and told the young man:

9 “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

(1 Samuel 3 NIV)

His surrogate dad helped him figure out what the Lord’s voice sounded like, and what he heard not only changed his life…it changed the world.

Similarly, we as fathers need to help a young man understand exactly what it is the Lord is calling him to. The Scripture in Proverbs that says:

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

…does not so much mean that if we teach a child God’s precepts as a lad that he will return to those teachings later in life. I do believe that is true, but it isn’t what this Scripture means. It is speaking of training, like a vine is trained. It is training it’s bent around a certain type of structure. We know that all woods and plants have a certain bend (a way that they should go) and it is fruitless, maybe even deadly, to train the vine against that bend. Here’s the thing: if you see greatness in an area of your son and you’re fairly sure he is bent that way, call it out in him. Tell him you see the hand of God on his life. Tell him you believe God has a holy calling (vocation) for him. Tell him he should be listening for God’s voice, through the Spirit, to direct him as he makes his choices about his calling and career. Who knows…he may go and change the world too.

  1. Fred Mullen says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s