Vocation, Gratitude, and Joy: Let Your Life Speak

By: Donnell Wyche – September 01, 2019

Let your Life Speak
Last week, I offered the Quaker concept of listening as your life speaks. The Quakers believe that as your life speaks, your task is to listen, discover, and find out what you’re made for. Because to be human is to grow, learn, and develop; a human is a being in progress. This process of listening is life-long.

Sometimes we imagine that Jesus was born knowing how vocation. That his every step, act, and spoken words were ordered, expected, and ordained. This cartoonish view of Christianity takes Jesus out of the running as a role model for us: how can we be like Jesus if he had this special experience that few of us will ever have?

In the Gospels, we see Jesus’ growing sense of vocation in Luke’s testimony:

Starts with the call announced to Mary, before Jesus is conceived

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:31-33)

Affirmed by Simenon, and Prophet Anna at his dedication in the Temple

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

There was also a prophet, Anna. She was very old. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)

Confirmed by Mary’s testimony

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Up until this point, everything is external, much how parents and grandparents notice gifts and talents in their own kids.

By age 12, Jesus, himself, has an early awareness of his vocation, when he responds
to his mother on why he stayed behind in Jerusalem.

“When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. (Luke 2:48-50)

He has found a group of people who get excited about what he gets excited about – the scriptures and discovering God’s desire for his people.

By age 30 at his baptism, Jesus hears a voice declaring:

“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)

This is a confirmation of something that Jesus has felt internally.

Finally, by the launch of his public ministry, Jesus speaks with conviction:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)

Luke uses Jesus’ physical development to show us how his vocation developed. This is helpful to us in understanding that vocational discovery takes time. It takes asking, discerning, questioning, listening, and waiting.

Building a Framework for Vocational Discovery

God knows what we’re for.
We discover our vocation in a community.

Vocation is something we discover, not something we invent. It’s there for us, before us. Our vocation begins and ends with God. He holds onto it before we do. He’s holding it for us while we work to perceive it.

Jesus was planted into a community. And out of this community, he came to understand his vocation. The community Luke finds Jesus in is diverse: prophets, women, elders, each contributing a unique voice and perspective – speaking together contributing their part of a larger tapestry.