Deep Gladness and Deep Hunger

The Wonderous Joy of Graduation

Yesterday Resurrection Lutheran honored our high school seniors who will soon be graduates. There are seventeen seniors in our congregation who now embark on a new section of their life journey. For many of them the journey includes further education or training before embracing a vocation or career. Rarely will that choice be a life-long decision in which they work at one setting all their lives.

I have posted before on Martin Luther’s perspective on God’s role in our vocation or calling. Yesterday with the seniors I quoted from author Frederick Buechner,

Vocation comes from the Latin vocare, “to call” and means the work a person is called to by God. There are all different kinds of voices calling you to different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of society, say, or the superego, or self-interest.

By and large a good rule for finding out 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 are bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a), but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.

Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. (F. Buechner, Beyond Words, p. 404-405)

Buechner’s words ring true for me. I have discovered great joy as I grow into my calling as pastor of Resurrection. I see it in my family as my daughter prepares again to be a pastry chef for the summer and as my son works to start a new business. Each of us is doing something we love and in a setting that will benefit others.

How have you heard God’s calling in your life?

Lord Jesus, show me how I can best love my neighbor through my vocation.

3 thoughts on “Deep Gladness and Deep Hunger

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  3. opreach

    Thank you. I had forgotten the first part of the quote, “Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do.” I’m all about avoiding the hair shirt, but that soft berth looks so inviting some days! Blessings.


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