I believe that God made me for a purpose,” Eric Liddell says to his sister in his Scottish brogue, “but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
That famous scene in Chariots of Fire, as Liddell explains his choice to compete in the Olympics before going to China as a missionary, gives us a compelling understanding of vocation: using our God-given talents and experiencing God’s pleasure as we do. Frederick Buechner’s popular definition of vocation is equally compelling: “The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
We were put on earth to make a difference, to change the world, to be used by God for the building of his kingdom! There is, indeed, something inspiring and soul-stirring about the idea that we live out our calling when we discover that unique intersection of God’s purposes for his kingdom, the needs of the world, and our own specific combination of talents, abilities, and passions. It’s when we cue the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, our hearts swell with a sense of purpose, and we feel, This is what I was made for.
But sometimes we don’t actually feel that way in our work. In fact, sometimes our daily work feels like life-sapping, stress-creating drudgery.
Perhaps for you it’s your career. Your job may be tiring and may feel like a mismatch with your gifts and talents. It may seem like it has absolutely nothing to do with your faith or your deepest passions in life.1