Baker’s Vocation or Vacation

Vocation and vacation sound alike, but rarely overlap in meaning. Vocation means calling and is often used interchangeably with job or career. Vacation means freedom from occupation or time away from job or career. My trip to Coloraod was a vacation from my role as pastor, but it was also a chance to witness my daughter’s vocation.

Suzanne Smiles in Her Domain

Though she graduated from college with a creative writing degree, Suzanne’s current passion and love is baking. Two years ago she went to Estes Park with a college friend to seek summer employment. I remember the frustration in her voice when she phoned home to tell us, she could find no work in Estes, not even at McDonald’s or Subway. I was preparing to drive out and bring her home, when my friend, Michael Johnson, suggested she look at guest ranches in Colorado. A few phone calls later, she had an interview at Lane’s Guest Ranch. The interview led to a job as pastry chef and my opportunity to enjoy her baking and cooking.

Baking in the mountains was a challenge. The high altitude affected dough and the kitchen was often over 100 degrees. This summer they were short staff most of the season. Still I enjoyed her strawberry shortcake, whole wheat rolls, white chocolate Torte and blueberry pancakes. I also discovered a big secret to making delicious brownies is a cup of brandy in the batter (at least I think it was a cup; Suzanne is very secretive about her recipes).  Suzanne is now back in Minnesota, seeking a winter vocation.

On the drive home Suzanne reminded me of the significance of bread in the Bible. God told Adam that it would be “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,” when God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden (Genesis 3:19). Thus the work for bread is part of the curse we endure as rebellious sinners. Yet God provided bread for the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16) and for the prophet Elijah in his journey (I Kings 19).

Jesus transformed bread from Satan’s temptation in the wilderness (where it is a reminder of Adam’s curse) to the miracle of feeding 5,000 with just five loaves. Afterwards Jesus stated, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). Finally Jesus promised Holy Communion when we eat the bread that is his body (Matthew 26:26). To be a baker is to have a holy vocation.

How is your vocation a place for God to work?

Lord Jesus, thank you for all who sweat and work for my daily bread.

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