Tag Archives: Avocation

Heart’s Desire

Ordinary Time
February 1, 2018

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:15-23

If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. –1 Corinthians 9:16-18

Paul’s chosen profession, perhaps inherited from the family business, was tent making. He was apparently successful at it, able to support himself, and made friends through the enterprise. It afforded him the opportunity to pursue his avocation of proclaiming the gospel.

An avocation is a work done primarily for the pure joy of doing it. We sometimes interchange the meaning of the word joy with happiness. Joy may or may not evoke happiness, but it is the emotion one feels when one attains his or her greatest desire. In our scripture above Paul is describing his greatest desire as taking the good news of Jesus Christ to all people. His quest caused him many hardships and eventually resulted in his death, but for him, every disciple won was the source of great joy. The driving force behind his avocation was no doubt the tremendous joy he experienced in encountering Jesus Christ and the continuing relationship that resulted.

What source of joy has Christ written on your heart? In your service to God, what brings you the greatest sense of accomplishment? Identifying your faith heart’s desire and seeking ways to actualize it will bring you joy that will last for eternity.

Prayer: Open my being to know where the desires of my heart and your desires intersect, O Lord. Enable me to pursue those points with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

What Gives You Joy?

Living in the Spirit
August 7, 2017

Scripture Reading:
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob.

 Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:1-4

The story of Joseph is the story of how not to parent an exceptional child. I do not know if I have any natural skills in math or not. I made good grades in arithmatic but invested minimum effort in doing so. As the youngest in my family with an older brother and an older sister who both excelled at math, I gravitated toward history and English to carve a unique path. Being the youngest of 12 did not leave much room for Joseph to find his niche. He did have time to spend with his dad who was probably turning more and more responsibilities over to his grown sons. Joseph by all accounts was exceptional and it took misfortune to help him channel his gifts appropriately.

What gives you joy? We will find what God is calling us to do or be when we identify what gives us joy. Joseph dreamed big dreams; was a visionary; saw the big picture. Later in the story we learn he had the administrative skills to implement his visions.

The newly installed General Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Theresa Hord Owens, worked for several years in business before she realized that ministry was what gave her joy and she changed careers. The background in business was not wasted as she assumes an administrative role.

A woman in my church loves to crochet. She spends the entire year making afghans, hats and mittens, bedspreads, and Christmas tree ornaments to either provide for the needy directly or increase our mission fund through sales of her work.

Joy is different from happy. Joy often comes at the expense of many long hours at hard work and the investment of resources, even danger. A local group is dedicated to provided self-sustaining water wells in countries desperately in need of not just water but safe water. Many of these countries are caught in strife making it difficult for this group to do their work.

What gives you joy?

Prayer: Lord, if we have discovered our source of joy, help us to hone it well and dedicate our work to your glory. If we are still searching for our source of joy, open doors for us to experiment, we might be totally surprised by what we find. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.