• Erin Lucas

Calling vs. Career

Updated: Aug 25

If you were to be asked who you are, how would you respond?


For most of us, our job title is one of the first things to be listed.

This got me thinking, why is it that when we are getting to know someone new we ask the question, “So, what do you do for a living?”


It’s funny how, in Western Culture, we often define ourselves and gather our identities based on what we do for a living. Christians even do this too. We tend to define ourselves through our work more than we define ourselves in Christ. When this happens, our work brings more glory to us than to God.


What I’ve come to notice is that we often confuse the words career and calling. Over the years, calling has become one of those ‘christianese’ words that are thrown around a lot but there isn’t a clear cut definition for. So, what exactly is the difference between a calling and a career?


Let’s start with some definitions:

  1. A career is “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” This is clearly referring to that thing we do that brings in the money each month.

  2. A calling, however, is “a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.”


It’s funny how we can see just from these definitions that there can be a slight intersect between calling and career!

This brings up a subject that I think a lot of people struggle with. We often think that our calling and career HAVE to intersect and when our careers aren’t the most glamorous or fulfilling we feel the need to move along quickly.


As we know, this isn’t always possible. After all, the bills still have to get paid.

But, I want to offer you some encouragement. In a lot of ways, your current career can intersect with your calling. I always love to remind myself that any and all work can be Kingdom work. God has you in a particular location, in a specific job, and with certain people who may need to hear His message lived out through your life!


You never know who may be watching you, which is why I think it’s important to take this verse to heart:

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather the for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance. It is the Lord whom you serve.”

The important thing to remember here is that before God ever calls us to a particular job or occupation, He calls us to Himself.


That is our calling friends - to know Him (John 17:3) and to make Him known (Acts 20:24).

So, next time you’re tempted to put your identity in your career, make sure that you remember that your calling is to Christ Himself and not to any job!

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Erin McGrew