The word "vocation" translates Latin and Greek words that mean "calling." Many people use "vocation" as synonym for "career" or "job"; that is an option, to be sure. At Concordia we use "vocation" to say something different: "God is calling"---and the calling is about your whole life.
To be sure, "God calling" can be frightening. If you think of God as a slave driver cracking the whip or a grumpy boss complaining about your work, "God calling" doesn’t sound so good. If you think of God as a personal trainer, helping you in just the right way to lift weights; or as a teacher or parent (if you’ve been blessed with a good one) who requires work that really is good for you to do---then it can sound good. This last view, at Concordia, is the Christian view. God gave Jesus on the cross so that we could see his pardon and love; and God gave us Jesus out of the tomb so that we could have His power to work with us daily. So, "God calling" is about your whole life? Yes. See the circle? You may see your life having three parts or five instead of four. The point is: you can identify different parts of your life. In every one of them God is calling, asking you to serve the people around you. Your decision for how to serve may be tough, as when homework, dishes to wash, and a friend needing help all come at the same time. For one reason at least you can relax as you choose: you can be confident that God will follow through with you. Other tough decisions: which college, what major? Again for at least one reason you can relax: you can be confident as you choose that God will follow through with you.
You can think of vocation as "freedom in Christ for service to the neighbor." You can serve in your job or career. Lose your job? Retire from your career? While you work through that challenge, you still have "neighbors" to serve---home, community, congregation; classmates, friends and enemies---and a God who shows His love in Christ.
- Rev. Dr. Richard Carter