In 1984, when we still had Saturday morning cartoons and couldn’t sleep in and just record the shows we wanted to see, while sitting in my jammies and munching on cold cereal, I sat through public service announcements that could only be entertaining to a child still groggy from a sleepover, anxious for the Smurfs to get out of the bind they were in before the show went to commercial.
Among those educational ads came the voice of Luther Vandross as “Zack of All Trades,” a career counselor with a boombox who tells us that our talents and hobbies can give us a hint as to what job we might have someday.
But while the church is not called to do career counseling, the Bible tells us that we all have unique gifts (Ephesians 4:11,12) to use to help each other. God calls us to use those gifts for His service. We can use many of those gifts directly in service to the church, but we also use those gifts in our workplaces, homes, and communities.
Through these vocations (“callings”), God works through us to serve our neighbor. In our workplace, we provide goods or services to our community, making their lives better. When we fail to live up to our calling, the company’s customers suffer, the company suffers, and all of our coworkers suffer. In our homes, God calls us to serve our families, whether as parents or children, and when we fail to act in love toward our families to the best of our ability, they suffer. People in our community depend on us to help them through volunteer activities. In doing so, we show people the love God has shown to us through Jesus Christ.
When we fail, though, while those around us suffer, and we may suffer the consequences of such actions, Just like Peter after denying Jesus (John 21:15-17), God assures us that Jesus has already paid the eternal consequences for our failure, so He forgives us, continues to love us, and calls us again to our vocations with a fresh start, forgiven and called again to the honor of serving the King of the universe.