Vocational Questions

In the process of discerning your vocation? Well, in an effort to aid your deliberations, I’d like to offer some suggestions for your reflection. I once came across a thoughtful set of questions from Cornelius Plantinga Jr. that means to prod your thinking on the topic. It comes from Engaging God’s World, (Eerdmans, 2002), 116. I thought I’d adapt it some and offer it here for anyone looking for a place to start. Now I don’t expect you to answer all of these questions, just that maybe one would introduce a consideration you hadn’t yet thought to entertain.

So here they are. Six questions to ask yourself when discerning your vocation.

  1. Would you enjoy and respect the work to the extent that you could offer your best efforts on a regular and long-term basis?
  2. Do you have a talent for the work that leads you to believe you would succeed at its practice?
  3. Is there a need for the work? Is there a shortage of workers?
  4. How honest is the work you’re fixing to do?
  5. With whom would you work? With corrupting or sanctifying influences?
  6. Does the work fit into your preexisting web of responsibilities, i.e., to your parents, spouse, children, siblings, friends, church, etc.?

P.S. from Gilbert Meilaender

Do you want to know what is your vocation? Then the first question to ask is not, “What do I want to do with my life?” It is not as if I first come to know myself and then choose a vocation that fulfills and satisfies me. For it is only by hearing and answering the divine summons, by participating in my calling, that I can come to know who I am. We are not who we think we are; we are who God calls us to be.

from “The Divine Summons,” in The Freedom of a Christian (Brazos, 2006)