Posts Tagged ‘Albert Schweitzer’

Vocation and Life Purpose Discovery

Monday, July 9th, 2012 by Diane Chandler

This past May, 2012, another group of divinity graduates received their diplomas from Regent University. Some currently hold fulfilling jobs, while others who are employed dream of moving into more satisfying employment.  Others are in transition or may be unemployed.  Times of transition are often wrought with anxiety which raises several questions:

-what is my life calling?

-what are my unique gifts and talents, and how can I steward them for God’s glory?

-how can I serve God in what I’d like to do, yet still make a living?

-what job would be most fulfilling to me?

-is what I am doing significant, and even more probing, am I significant?

These questions take time, experience, discernment, reflection, prayer, and input from others to address. No matter what our life season, we occasionally circle back to these basic questions.  However, we must remember that vocation is not to be equated with a job. Vocation first begins as a general call to follow Christ, followed by a specific call that is unique to each individual in contributing to Christ’s mission in the world, followed by an immediate call involving the duties at hand, such as family responsibilities. All three coalesce into our discipleship journey and reflect loving and serving God and others. God promises to guide us and does so each step along our journey. How God guided Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), German Lutheran theologian, musician, and medical doctor, offers some key principles!

In his riveting autobiography, Schweitzer wrote about a developing sense of call in the chapter entitled “I Resolve to Become a Jungle Doctor.”[1]

He chronicled how his sense of calling morphed from theology and music to include becoming a medical doctor. Although few will be called by God to serve as a medical doctor in Africa, the path that Schweitzer followed is equally as compelling today as it was during his lifetime. Notice the progression that carried him along in life purpose discovery and subsequent decision making.

While focused in academic studies and music, Schweitzer developed a growing empathy for others “struggling with sorrow and suffering.”[2]

Identification of one’s calling often begins with a burden of compassion to assist others. Then at age 21, Schweitzer realized that he could not accept his good fortune relative to university study, scholarship, and organ proficiency as “a matter of course” but determined to “give something in return.”[3]

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