Sermon quotes on calling

Eric Barker

Research by Gallup shows that the more hours per day you spend doing what you’re good at, the less stressed you feel and the more you laugh, smile, and feel you’re being treated with respect.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

The Cost of Discipleship

Brother Lawrence

Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity.

Practice the Presence of God

Jack Hyles

God does not choose those who are fit. He outfits those whom He chooses.


Parker J. Palmer

Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about-or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Tyler Wigg-Stevenson

We get our calling wrong when we imagine that God needs us, to be the hero of our own story, rather than Christ. Second, we routinely misdiagnose the problem of our world, underestimating the brokenness of sin and overestimating our ability to fix things. Third, our witness of God often depicts a Lord who is domesticated to serve our causes . Fourth, a justifiable focus on external problems can easily blind us to the depth of our complicity in the pain of the human condition.

The World Is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good

Thomas Merton

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.… To work out our identity in God.

 New Seeds of Contemplation: New Directions

Eugene Peterson 

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.

The Message

Gregg Levoy

Calls are essentially questions. They aren’t questions you necessarily need to answer outright; they are questions to which you need to respond, expose yourself, and kneel before. You don’t want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf. You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you across the breadth of your life.


Gene Veith

The combat between God and the Devil for all vocations and orders takes place within every single human being. If God is victor, then that part of external existence which lies within man’s reach is made to serve God. If Satan wins, God’s creation is used in the opposite way. But an office is good, even when it is misused, even as the spear that pierced Christ’s side did not for that reason cease to be God’s good creation. . . . [T]he Devil’s onslaughts consist of temptations to misuse a good and divine office, to mismanage one’s vocation. . . . Temptation in vocation is the Devil’s attempt to get man out of his vocation.

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, Crossway


Gene Veith

Thus a Christian finds himself called to drab and lowly tasks, which seem less remarkable than monastic life, mortifications, and other distractions from our vocations. For him who heeds his vocation, sanctification is hidden in offensively ordinary tasks, with the result that it is hardly noticed at all that he is a Christian. But faith looks on simple duties as tasks to which vocation summons the man; and by the Spirit he becomes aware that all those ‘poor, dull, and despised works’ are adorned with the favor of God ‘as with costliest gold and precious stones

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, Crossway


Eugene Peterson 

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.

The Message

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.

“Self Reliance,” in Selected Essays, Lectures and Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Robert E. Spiller, Bantam Classics.

Gordon T. Smith

So, four questions, each just another way to get at the heart of the matter: What do you want most of all? What matters to you? Where are you at home, in your elemental waters? And what breaks your heart because it breaks the heart of God?

Taken from Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. ©2011 by Gordon T. Smith.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426.

Gordon T. Smith

I can lose my job; I might be released from a position. My career can come to an end when I retire from the organization I work in. But my vocation comes from God; it remains and is not in the end something that I choose or that someone else can give me or take away from me. It comes from God; it denotes my fundamental identity.

Taken from Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. ©2011 by Gordon T. Smith.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426.

Bruce Larson

Quite often the absence of immediate success is the mark of a genuine call.

My Creator, My Friend, Word Publishing

Howard Thurman

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Frederick Buechner

The voice we should listen to most as we choose a vocation is the voice that we might think we should listen to least, and that is the voice of our own gladness. What can we do that makes us the gladdest? I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing.

The Hungering Dark (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985), 31–32.

Rebekah Lyons

Calling is where our talents and burdens collide. Our talents are our birthright gifts, the gifts that make our hearts sing, come alive. Our burdens are found in our stories, in what breaks our hearts. God was inviting me to use the gifts that made me come alive, to redeem the things that broke my heart.

You Are Free, Zondervan, 2017, p.51.

John Ortberg

A calling, which is something I do for God, is replaced by a career, which threatens to become my god.  A career is something I choose for myself; a calling is something I receive.  A career is something I do for myself; a calling is something I do for God.  A career promises status, money, or power; a calling generally promises difficulty and even some suffering – and the opportunity to be used by God.  A career is about upward mobility; a calling generally leads to downward mobility.

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001).

Oswald Chambers

God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “. . . who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.

Source Unknown

God has a long track record of calling people the world thinks are lightweights, cowards, or no good and making them great in his service. Who else but God called Gideon to lead the fight against the Philistines? God called Gideon even though Gideon had all the excuses in the world for not heeding the call to fight. He rattled off all excuses in the book. Still, God’s angel called him a ‘mighty man of valor.’ Gideon might have laughed since this description hardly squared with his own perception of himself.

Mark Batterson

God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.

Draw the Circle

N.T. Wright

We are made for God: for God’s glory, to worship God and reflect his likeness.  That is our heart’s deepest desire, the source of our deepest vocation.

Taken from The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright Copyright (c) 2015 by N. T. Wright. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Andrew Peterson

Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do.

 Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making, B&H Books, 2019.

Dick Ryan

Bit by intelligible bit, a vocation lets us express

our healthiest instincts, our noblest desires…

In small things and in large, we can attend to

the haunting inner summons of our soul.

Straight from the Heart: Reflections from Twentieth-Century Mystics ed. Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001, p.85.

Frederick Buechner

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

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