• Richard Parrish

Primary and Vocational Callings



Some choose a job out of necessity. Others select an occupation because they are drawn toward it.


The Latin word for vocation is “vocātiō;” a calling or summons.


One of my sons-in-law is a State Representative. I admire his passion for helping serve and represent the citizens of our State. From my perspective, his job (for me) would be one of desperation, not one I would choose.


His attraction to serve as a legislator is different than what entices me to work as a minister. I’m confident it’s for the betterment of all that we don’t switch jobs!


Although my vocational “calling” is different than my sons-in-law, and your career may be different than ours: Each of us has a primary calling

“… to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12b).

It’s more comfortable to focus on our “vocational” calling and ignore our first summons. It’s more inspiring and less threatening to attend to the development of vocational competency than discerning our conduct.


Despite our vocation, our lives are to demonstrate conduct that honors God.


Notwithstanding your profession, we are first called to enter and be citizens of the Kingdom of God. And with that primary calling, our behavior is to reflect that which pleases God.


Too often, I become more focused on my secondary calling and neglect my primary calling. When this happens, I’m inclined to ignore my responsibility to “walk in a manner worthy to God.”


Getting our “callings” in the proper order is helpful. When we’re more committed to living our lives in a way that pleases God, it’s incredible how we discover that pride is replaced with humility, greed with generosity, and hateful speech with gracious, kind, and loving words.


It appears our society would greatly benefit by prioritizing our primary calling. Authentic humility is more appealing than arrogance. Generosity is more excellent than greed, and gracious speech more productive than rancorous words.


Our first calling is to enter and partake in God’s Kingdom and reflect and share God’s glory in the marketplace. How are we doing?