Courage and Calling by Gordon Smith may well be the timeliest book for many in this day of economic and social turmoil. The sub-title of the book gives its focus Embracing Your God-Given Potential.
I have taught for many years that Christians have three callings in their lives; to be a Christian; what they do each day / their role in society; our calling to our family, children, neighbors and friends. Smith lays out a similar three fold calling for each of us:
- To be a Christian
- The specific call of purpose, mission; a reason for being
- The call we face each day in response to the multitude demands on our lives.
This book focuses on the second calling – of purpose, mission and reason for being. As Smith writes We long to find and do work that is meaningful, that makes a difference and needs to be done.
In order to being thinking about this Smith, rightly, points out that we need to have a healthy theology of work. Work is given to us by another, by God who is our creator. Thus our work is not our god; it is given to us as a gift, as something for which we are stewards….. We are called to work but we are not called only to work… A biblical theology of work, then includes the explicit call for regular Sabbath rest….We are not workers; we are, rather, children of God who are called to work.
This is an important distinction for Smith because he goes on to say that each person has a fundamental calling or vocation. And this is, more than anything else, what each of us must discover. However, calling and vocation is much deeper and all encompassing than a career or occupation. To fulfill your vocation and calling through an occupation is a wonderful and treasured gift. For many, however, a job is a means of supporting life and family, getting whatever work they can and it may not be their vocation or calling. For some, they may not discover or begin their calling until after they retire.
Smith outlines the process and thinking needed to begin to discover the call and vocation that God has for you and it is a process and way of thinking which is so important for each believer to undertake and discover. God has a calling and vocation for each of us and we must intentionally seek it in whatever place we may be in right now.
If you or a friend has found themselves without a job or at a crossroads, then this is an ideal book to read now. If anyone ever says to you, or you think to yourself “I don’t know what God is calling me to do” then read this book. It is clear, practical and wise counsel.