May 11, 2016
What’s your vocation?
What’s your vocation has been the recent topic of our Family Bible Study at church.
It’s easy to equate our “vocation” with our “job.” Men, in particular, tend to identify personally with their job. Probably because we spend so much time there, it becomes, in our mind, who we are as a person
When I talk to people about all of the jobs I’ve had in my life, they’re very often amazed. My first job, at age 9, was sweeping out Root’s Department Store in Wabasha. I remember walking past the store one day and watching Mr. Root use a brush and squeegee to wash the large pane glass windows at the front of the store. I watched for a few minutes and then said out loud “I could do that.” Mr. Root turned to me and said “Let’s see.” So, I finished washing the windows and went inside to let him know I was done. I remember he came out and inspected the windows and then he surprised me by offering me a job sweeping the store out every night before closing and cleaning the stock room and washing the windows on Saturday. For doing all of this, he offered me the generous sum of three dollars a week! Three dollars a week was affluence! This was 1960 and everything in the world I wanted cost only a nickel! Comic books, candy, a coke at the soda fountain, all of it cost only a nickel – I was rich!
Sometime later, when I was 11, I was hired to sweep out our local movie theatre. The Pem Theater on Pembroke Avenue, was where you’d find all of the kids on Saturday afternoon for the matinee feature movie; generally, a Western! I didn’t enjoy the work very much because, frankly, kids make a mess! Between all of the popcorn on the floor and the gum under the seats, it wasn’t a pleasant job. Not long after I was hired though, I was shown how to run the two huge arc-light projectors. The projector light was produced by inserting two welding rods, a positive and a negative, into a mechanism that shot a spark between them. As the rods burned, it produced that blinding white light we associate with welding. These had to be changed out a couple of times during a three or four-reel movie. Each reel was about 20 minutes long. The second thing I learned how to do was how to watch for the timing marks that ran down the side of the film and was visible on the screen. Although the audience could see them, they were busy watching the movie unaware that the projectionist was watching carefully so that he could start the second projector at exactly the right time to keep the movie in sync. I can’t begin to tell you how cool it was to sit in the projection booth and watch all of the movies for free as I kept things going for the audience! It was one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had.
Since then, I’ve had a lot of vocations – in no particular order; I’ve worked as a short-order fry cook many times, the first time in 1965. I’ve done auto-body work; I’ve worked in a bottling company sorting dirty pop bottles; I’ve pumped gas as a station attendant; I’ve been a floor-guard as well as managed a roller-rink; I’ve made a living driving a taxi and as a limousine driver; I’ve been a disc-jockey and also a radio station News Director for thirteen years; I’ve sold and installed Citizen Band Radios when they were the craze in the 70’s; I’ve worked on a farm as a farm-hand; I’ve been a realtor and a mortgage broker; I’ve been a “skip tracer” for a private investigator and I’ve provided personal “body guard” protection for a number of famous people in Hollywood; I’ve driven a tractor-trailer rig all over the country; I’ve trained other people how to drive a semi; I’ve driven thousands of miles as a tour bus driver and I’ve been a tour director and manager; I’ve been a systems administrator, a network administrator, a computer technician, a web designer, and I’ve hosted websites; I’ve been a manager many times and currently am a Director for an International technical services company; I’ve worked as a writer and have a number of things published; I’ve been a milk man; I’ve driven a city bus for a living; I’ve been a school bus driver on a number of occasions; I’ve sold things door to door such as Amway and the Saturday Evening Post years ago; I’ve been a paperboy; I’ve been a “lumper” unloading trucks by hand; I’ve worked in retail many times for many different companies; I guess you could say that I’ve had a lot of jobs.
As a young man, I wanted to become a Pastor, but life never took me in that direction. And yet, through all of this, God was preparing me for my true vocation, as a Christian.
God, in His infinite grace, has given me all of the experience I bring to bear at my present “job” and in my true calling as a Christian.
Today, I can look back at the good times and the bad, the fat times and the skinny times and I can be thankful that God has always provided. I’ve always had a job, I’ve always had work to do, but I find the most satisfaction in my vocation as a disciple of Christ.