Disclaimer: This post does address God and my belief in Him, so if you find this offensive you make the choice to read.
I just began my final class towards my masters entitled, Serving and Leading in Community and World. This is a combined sociology and theology course that is required as part of my program. When I read the syllabus, I read it wanting to know what would be required of me to do in these last 8 weeks as a graduate student. I did not read it to see what objectives and key learning would take place. So when I completed my readings this week, I was really challenged with what my books said about the idea of work. When I then had to synthesize what I read and discuss it, I had to stop, process, reflect, and of course, write.
How–and why–God works through human beings:
“The term vocation comes from the Latin word for ‘calling’” (Veith, 17). In my experience, I only thought of being called into certain roles in the area of religion, as a few of my friends from high school were called into various ministries and pursued that path. Vocation, to me, simply meant career – something you chose to pursue because of personal interest. Veith’s writing has already challenged this thinking and made me see there is a reason for the choices that have been made or the path that has been taken. Yes, I believe that God certainly ordains things to occur based on His divine plan. But working through me as I am called to serve as a daughter, sister, wife, student, teacher, singer, or technology-lover just doesn’t seem quite so spiritual or God-sanctioned. Instead, I am starting to now see that God works through me in all of these capacities in order to serve Him.
Quite simply, God designed humans to show His love through service. Veith states, “The purpose of vocation is to love and to serve one’s neighbor” (39). When we are diligent in our vocation, then we are serving our neighbors. We were uniquely created to use our gifts and talents to serve others and conversely have others serve us. In fact, “…it is true that we are supposed to be dependent on other people, just as it is true that other people are supposed to be dependent on us” (Veith, 41). It is in this state of dependency that we share God’s love.
I have been called to teach. I serve my students every day by providing them the tools to learn, think critically, develop the skills required for their futures, and cultivate strong relationships that provide a sense of belonging. More specifically, I have been called to teach Latino English Language Learners. With my Spanish-speaking abilities, multiple mission experiences, and cultural immersion opportunities during my own life, I truly feel like I was called to serve mi comunidad (my community) in particular because of my cultural understanding and empathy. Serving my families is not just because of the school’s location, but rather a calling to provide support and guidance for those who are so often overlooked in our society.
In addition to my thoughts above, I want to make it known that you all have been placed in my life in some way, shape, or form that has already been designed. I do believe in God and that He places people in our lives for a reason. When I wrote my passion post as part of Angela Maiers’ Passion-Driven series, I mentioned that teaching is not a career, but rather a lifestyle. I still feel that way, but I now look at it a bit differently given the idea of it being a ‘calling’. My time spent online and in the presence of a digital community of learners is how I invest my time to further my own knowledge in order to best serve my students. Many of you do the same. The fact that we have all found each other and can support one another just provides one more reason for me to believe that we are called to do what we do for a reason.
What are your thoughts? Do you see your vocation as a teacher as something your chose to do or something that you were ‘called’ or destined to do?