Business is a Vocation

“Business is, in fact, a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life.”
—Pope Francis

 

Consider the term vocation.  It’s derived from the Latin word vocari, which means “calling.”

But if a vocation is to be called, it begs the question: Called by whom? In our Catholic tradition, the answer is “Called by God” of course!

This obviously leads us to the next question: Do you know your vocation? Have you even been looking…listening for your calling?

Recently I have been talking with a young man, 21 years old, with no direction and no clue where he was going in life. He hated school, and had dropped out of college twice. Since then he’d been going from what he saw as one “dead end job” to another. But in fact, these jobs wouldn’t have to be dead ends. Indeed, each one of them could have led to careers with growth opportunities, if he would only have looked for them!

Not surprisingly, as among many young men these days, his interests were in gaming. But even for that, he had no aptitude and no willingness to do the work…to actually make the commitment to develop the skill and the expertise.

So, there he was: no calling, no endeavor connected to his passion. Nor could he see a genuine need in the world for what he had to offer.

Or did he even try? Consider the “three circles” that must overlap to expose the “sweet spot” that reveals how we may best engage and serve the world. Those are:

  1. Passion
  2. Capacity
  3. and Need

I’d have to say that is starts with passion…and unfortunately many people, young and old, go through life without ever truly pursuing what they are passionate about.

History teaches us that most long-lasting, successful businesses began with the vision and passion of a single individual…the entrepreneur…and that passion was not about making money. It was about serving a mission, a purpose to solve a problem, to add value to the lives of others in some way.

As Catholic Christians, we are each called to leverage our gifts, and engage the world with the intention of serving—adding value to the lives of people. We achieve this by creating good goods and good services, good work for others, and good wealth for ALL. This isn’t limited to greater bank balances, but well-being. 

Remember: we each have gifts (including that young man I mentioned), and it’s our responsibility to receive what we have been given, and then give it away to others in and through one’s business activities—our work. Whatever this may entail, it becomes a noble vocation when we are focused on serving others.

Which leads us to YOU: do you view your present work or business as a vocation? Or is it simply a means to a paycheck? If you are unsure, ask yourself this question: “How does my work improve the lives of others, directly or indirectly?”

Download the PDF below (it’s a simple one-question worksheet) and write out your answer. If you have never seriously contemplated this question, you may find it an enlightening experience. If approached in a prayerful manner, don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit helps you with your answer.

Even more importantly, keeping your answer in front of you at your workplace will give you strength and courage to push through on those exhausting, dark days, when you feel as though you would rather just give up.

WORKSHEET: The Vocation Question Download Now
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