Buechner on Vocation

Frederick Buechner, b. 1926
Image from www.frederickbuechner.com

If you read or study about calling and vocation (which, by the way, comes from the Latin vocare, “to call”), you will most likely come across this poetic quote by Frederick Buechner:

“The place God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” (1993, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, p. 119).

In that one sentence, Buechner sums up an ocean of meaning found in the Christian idea of calling. Biblically, calling is primarily about God calling humans to himself (such as Jesus calling the disciples to follow Him). But you can also find examples of people in the Bible being called/appointed to specific roles or work (Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Esther, Paul, the list goes on – even Adam and Eve were called into existence and then called upon to be fruitful gardeners).

As a juggler/performer, I am particularly drawn to the passage in Exodus 31 about two lesser known fellows named Bezalel and Oholiab:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts (Exodus 31:1-5, NIV).

The Hebrew word for “chosen” (qara) in that first sentence can also be translated “called.” Here we have an example of God calling these two people to be artists in the beautification of the tabernacle. This is also the first time in Scripture we see someone filled with the Spirit of God. Being an artist can truly be a calling (just ask any artist!). The exciting thing is that we see in Scripture that God is the one who calls the artist. He is also the one who equips the artist with skills and fills the artist with His Spirit.

May the Lord fill you with His Spirit and show you the wonderful things to which He has called you!

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Jesse Joyner travels nationwide performing a comedy juggling act for family and kids events. He is also working towards his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Kezzie.

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