I believe in Job Descriptions. I believe it’s important that people in every walk of life know what and who they are responsible for. That way they stay focussed and know what they should be doing. And yet I also believe that there are many jobs that are more than jobs. Many jobs are actually vocations – callings. Vocations are more about who you are than what you do. That’s why a vocation cannot be properly or fully articulated and summarised in a Job Description. We see this most overtly in people who work for churches, and especially in clergy and pastors.
I was reminded of this recently as I was re-reading Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor. He helpfully writes:
A job is an assignment to do work that can be quantified and evaluated. It is pretty easy to decide whether a job has been completed or not. It is pretty easy to tell whether a job is done well or badly. But a vocation is not a job in that sense. I can be hired to do a job, paid a fair wage if I do it, dismissed if I don’t. But I can’t be hired to be a pastor, for my primary relationship is not to the people I serve but to the God I serve. As it turns out, the people I serve would often prefer an idol who would do what they want done rather than do what God, revealed in Jesus, wants them to do. In our present culture the sharp distinction between a job and a vocation is considerably blurred.
Whether leaders work for a church or not, they need to know if they have a job or a vocation. If you have a vocation, make use of all that’s good from the world of jobs but never lose sight of what you’re called to, and – most importantly – the One who has called you.