A fresh look at your vocation

By | March 8, 2018 7:10 am

Playl’s Ponderings -By Steve Playl       

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

How many of us remember pondering that question? What was your typical answer to yourself or others? Did your answer change from week to week…or day to day…or perhaps several times daily?

When I was a child, my usual answer was either cowboy, policeman, or fireman. Later, it became singer or movie star…then rich businessman or architect. How about you?

A couple weeks ago, our daughter, Shannon, texted and shared with us a conversation she had just had with her daughter, Katie Grace. Our 4-year-old stinking cute granddaughter had obviously been giving deep thought to the popular question. The verbatim account, which was proceeded and concluded with hearts, went like this:

KG just said, “Mom, when I grow up, can I be a puppy or a human or a prince?”


(Grabs my face to talk directly into my eyes) “I can be anything I want.”

Yes, baby…

“Or a unicorn?…”

Two observations are obvious – first, Shannon has taught her daughter that a little girl can pursue any career path she chooses (not bad instructions…to a point) and second, for all of us there are limitations.

What we wanted to be as a 4-year-old may change many times over the course of a lifetime. In fact, what we want to be at 40, 50, or 60 may change. Our career or profession may change. Our vocation or calling may also be redirected.

By the way, in case you didn’t know, vocation literally means “calling” or “to be called.” People are needed in a variety of occupations, and, I believe, God can place us in the positions we are most suited for. Each of us has a different set of talents or abilities and different desires or passions in life.

Philosopher and author Fredrick Buechner said it like this, “Our vocation is the place where our deepest desire and the world’s greatest need meets.”

This assumes, of course, that we allow God to direct our passions or desires. One who has a desire to harm others, obviously, did not receive that desire from the Lord.

God calls us, first of all and in a general way, to follow Him. Then He calls us to specific career paths and gives us opportunities to excel where we are needed.

As a college student, I became aware of a desire to help people by sharing God’s love and the Gospel of Christ. As a result, I felt a call to preach, which resulted in seeking an education and opportunities in the ministry. After years of serving as a pastor, I became aware of a keen interest in helping people who were sick, which led to hospital chaplaincy. Teaching and writing have also been added to the mix, and I thank God for the fulfillment I feel in serving in these ways.

God has a passion to direct you into the most meaningful life possible. He also requires that you be submissive and make yourself available. It is a continuous quest, and I pray that you will discern His direction throughout your life.

So…in the never-ending search, I continue to ask myself, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I believe I have the answer – a wise grandparent! The grandparent part is already there, complete with super grandkids. Now I just need to pray about the “wise” part.

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