My son is going off to college in a few months. I am guessing you knew that. Times are changing. I have prayed. I have talked to people. I have done lots of self-reflection. And I came up with something profound. At least for me.
I am quitting my job.
I was talking to a bunch of lacrosse parents late last Saturday night in the lobby of an Embassy Suites in Minneapolis. A few of them were sober. Probably not the best time or place for me to make a career decision—but that is when and where the decision happened.
They all know where I work. It is an occupational hazard. One of them asked the question what I do at my job—other than talk to a bunch of people on Sunday morning?
I gave them a list of things. They moved on to the next topic of conversation.
I did not move on. What is it I do other than talk to a bunch of people on Sunday mornings?
Frederick Buechner is part theologian, part poet, part preacher. He is slowly approaching one hundred years old nowadays and is one of the great authors of his generation. Heck, he is one of the great authors of any generation. He writes of vocation:
By and large a good rule for finding vocation is this: The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need to do and (b) that the world needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing cigarette ads, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a), but probably aren’t helping your patients much either. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
So I’m quitting my job. I’m not leaving the church. Or The Water’s Edge Church. I’m just going to look at things and people and life differently. Not a job with a bunch of tasks but a vocation where my deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.So I’m going to pray more. Lister better. Spend less time in the office and visit people in houses and jails and hospitals and lacrosse games and wherever. I’m going to invite more people to worship with us. Develop new leaders. And, on Sundays, step up to our little podium, clear my throat, say one last little silent prayer, and do my best to interpret the Bible and help us apply God’s words to our lives. I’m grateful I get to do it and God’s words—they are the thirst-quenching, hunger-satisfying, darkness-overcoming, nourishment and replenishment the world needs more than it needs anything else.