FF40 – Day 24 on Vocation | From Andi Stepnick


Ruth 1:15-18 | Matthew 28:16-20 | Romans 12:4-8

“Go to class!”

“See your professors during office hours!”

“Make friends.”

Did you get advice like this before coming to college? Advice givers know
you are bright and capable, but they want to help you thrive in your new
college community.

But, why did you even come to college? For some people, college is “just
the next step” or they simply want to “get a degree.” But I want more for
you! Belmont wants more for you!  God wants more for you!  We want
your college experience to help you become your authentic self. And,
we want you to use your talents in ways that make the world a better
place. Belmont’s marketing materials suggest this when they paraphrase
Buechner’s idea that “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness
meets the world’s great need.”

You probably know a bit about the world’s needs. And, most likely, you
know what makes you happy. But, what is “deep gladness”? Deep
gladness is something soulful. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, offers
advice on how to find it, particularly in regards to our vocations. He writes:

For just as in a single human body there are many limbs and organs, all with different functions, so all of us, united with Christ, form one body, serving individually as limbs as organs to one another. The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God’s grace and must be exercised… A teacher should employ their gift in teaching… If you give to charity, give with all your heart; if you are a leader, exert yourself to lead… (Emphasis added.)

Two ideas in these verses resonate with me. And, no matter your faith
tradition, there’s usefulness in them. The first is that while we’re individuals,
we are responsible to one another simply by our very existence. Second,
God may give us gifts, but people have to develop them and that will
require effort… perhaps even some struggle.

As you seek your vocation, I encourage you to explore your gifts beyond what you think they are. Get out of your box. Take classes that make you uncomfortable. Talk with “different” kinds of people. Listen to your inner voice. Be open to new paths. Expect struggle. Trust in the process.

Recognize that knowledge becomes power when you act on it. Find your
deep gladness.

And remember to do it all together – with and for one another.

Andi Stepnick
Professor of Sociology



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