I heard a great statement: “Our vocation in life is to follow Christ.”
Mother Theresa was once asked, “How did you know Christ called you to work with the poor?” She responded, “He didn’t. He called me to follow him and this is where he led me.”
Since leaving my last church, I have been going through a slight identity crisis. As a vocational pastor, one of the things I always tried to avoid was becoming a “statistic.” I didn’t want to be one of “those” pastors who left “the ministry.” It’s difficult to explain to someone why you’ve left “the ministry.” It never carries a positive connotation. People just don’t leave “the ministry.”
But now I am one of “those” pastors who have left “the ministry.” And I’m reeling somewhat from what that means. I always thought Christ called me into professional ministry and that my leaving was some kind of “failure” for whatever reason I left. But I’m beginning to realize that my vocation is not pastoring. My vocation is following Christ. And for 16 years, he led me into occupational ministry. And now he’s leading me into some other occupation. It’s not failure. It’s not that one is even better than the other. Jesus fills all of life. Therefore, my life should be all about following Jesus in every nook and cranny of my life.
And to be honest, if he’s simply calling me to follow him, then whatever occupation he leads me to or from isn’t that big of a deal. Following Jesus is primary. Following him in my family. Following him wherever he may lead me for employment. Following him in my Community of Faith with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Following him wherever he leads.
Isn’t that the point of this journey anyway? The Offramp is about learning how to authentically follow Jesus and the life-transforming, community-forming, culture-staggering implications for our lives. It’s about being the church — authentic followers of Christ by vocation — wherever we are and wherever he leads.