Written by Sawyer Bullock

In high school, I filled out a career survey that indicated I should be a garbage collector or university administrator. This was while I was working on farms and performing at children’s birthday parties. Since then I have neither received further clarity nor comfort regarding occupational direction, and my problem has been exacerbated by being part of a generation that expects to discover their life’s purpose when they are 17.  

However, while I still don’t know what I want to do, I have a very clear picture of who I want to be. What follows is an attempt to help clarify “calling” while maintaining a robust view of God’s sovereignty and human freedom.  

Let’s begin by distinguishing calling from occupation. Calling is a divine plan or purpose which God invites us to participate in, whereas occupation is what you do to pay the bills. While your occupation can be part of your calling, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.  

The call to follow Christ and participate in His redemptive work is at the root of every other calling. For example the Apostle Paul was called to be a missionary to the Gentiles, but he made tents to cover his expenses. Same with us – our lives as Christians do include, but aren’t limited to, our occupations. 

However, we don’t want to make the mistake of trivializing where God has us this very day. You don’t know what God is preparing you for, and if you did, you probably would not start the journey. Paul had the equivalent of a PhD in Judaism and spent his early years preparing for a life in temple service. But God had other plans. Jesus steps in and knocks Paul (then Saul) off his donkey, onto his donkey – if you catch my drift.  

Right now, you may not know where the Lord is leading you, but you are in a place where you must choose whether or not you will start walking. 

“But I don’t know what God wants me to do! I’ve asked him, but he hasn’t answered.” Wrong. God always answers prayer, He just doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He’s going to. We can be wandering around looking for our answer when it is right in front of us.  

Let’s not make the mistake of looking for His hand the way we think it’s going to look. We’ll walk right by it again and again. What opportunities are in front of you right now? Where can you serve?  

As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (ESV). 

With questions like “Should I choose university X or Y?” we need to recognize that God also gives us freedom regarding non-moral issues. So, give it some thought, choose a school, then seek to honour God, your professors, your parents, and be a light to your peers.  

“Who should I marry?” Well, see what conditions God has given in His word, then take your pick.  

The Lord knows what we will freely choose (via omniscience) and orients the world in such a way that we will accomplish His purposes – whether we like it or not. God will use us – better to be used as a John than as a Judas.  

Therefore, as believers, let’s respond with faithfulness and obedience to the opportunities placed in our path, fully trusting in God’s sovereignty and goodness.