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Vocation-minded people do God’s will.
BY Dave Durand
you comment on the popular show “American Idol.” You said that some of the
contestants suffer from a faulty self-evaluation, which leads to “21st-century
careerism.” Can you explain this further?
It is common to hear Randy Jackson,
one of the “Idol” judges, summarize a contestant’s performance by saying,
“Singing is just not your thing, dog.” The shocking thing is when the
candidate, who by any measure was a terrible singer, replies by passionately
telling the judges that they are wrong.
This happens time and time again.
How can this be? Have these people not heard themselves sing? Did their friends
set them up as a practical joke? Are they tone-deaf? Have they become so
self-deceived they really believe they are good singers?
One thing is for certain: If that
type of “American Idol” candidate, or anyone else for that matter, doesn’t
honestly evaluate his natural God-given talents, he will never be able to seek
fulfillment through a vocation. Instead, he will be forever trapped in a
self-centered career mentality.
A person who is career-minded will
make decisions purely based on what he wants to do. He pays
little attention to what he ought to do. On the
other hand, a vocation-minded person does the opposite. Being vocation-minded
comes with both personal and spiritual maturity.
God created each of us in a very
particular way with specific inclinations and natural talents. Like it or not,
we are obligated to use them prudently and as best we can. When you refine
those talents into skills, you are being a good steward, but if you spend all
of your time trying to develop a skill with little or no natural talent, it
will likely lead to misery.
There are many studies to support
this position. In fact, Marcus Buckingham’s book Now
Discover Your Strengths makes the point by debunking the myth that
if a person turns weaknesses into strengths he finds success. The effort it
takes to refine a very minimal or even nonexistent talent into a skill is
painstaking. On the other hand, watering and fertilizing a pre-existing talent
usually pays off.
I used the term “21st-century
careerism” to address the growing desire by young people to seek fulfillment
via recognition or fame. It becomes a “fame for fame’s sake” pursuit. Just
observe how many people have become famous because of outrageous behavior or
a vocational life is doing God’s will rather than your own. Conversely, a
career mentality is the manifestation of letting your own will be done. The
entire point is best summarized by Matthew 6:33: “Seek first his Kingdom and his
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Durand is online at