The second of these two senses of vocation has two helpful quotations of its use attached to it:
<vocation involves the total orientation of a man’s life and work in terms of his ultimate sense of mission – R. F. West2>
<domination of physical nature is part of the vocation of man>
I’ll comment on this claim about domination – or, better, dominion – later. Then we get yet another sense:
3 archaic : the position in life in which God has placed a person : estate, station.3
The first two chapters of Genesis explain the estate or station in which God has placed every human being.
When we look up the word calling, the second, third, and fourth senses are relevant to this morning’s discussion:
2 : a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action or duty
specifically : such an impulse accompanied by conviction of divine influence
3 obsolete : station or position in life : rank.
Here the apostle Paul’s use is quoted:
<let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called – 1 Corinthians 7:20 (Authorized Version)>
And then we get the fourth sense:
4 : the activity in which one customarily engages as a vocation or profession.4
I will use vocation in Merriam-Webster’s 2 a (2) sense: “the responsibility of an individual or group to serve the divine purposes in every condition, work, or relationship of life : one’s obligations and responsibilities (as to others) under God” (my emphases) and calling in all three of the quoted senses. The first of them – “a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action or duty …
specifically: such an impulse accompanied by conviction of divine influence” – seems to capture what Nehemiah felt as recorded in the book of Nehemiah. The third – one’s “station or position in life: rank” and fourth – “the activity in which one customarily engages as a vocation or profession” – are both part of Paul’s use of calling in 1 Corinthians.
I am going to concentrate on the biblical view of vocation because the biblical view of calling falls out of it. The callings are subordinate to the vocation we all have simply by creation.
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