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Choosing a Vocation

A young reader asks me to write a short article on the subject: “Choosing a Vocation”.

That’s really quite a question, much easier asked than answered.  Besides, the additional ‘light’ shed on the question is such that the question is broader than the heading of this article would suggest.  It’s really a matter of questions about the question.  And just think of it.  I am supposed to write a ‘short’ article about this and in that short article everything in connection with the question must be ‘cleared up’.  I hope that by this time all of you will realize that my task is an impossible one.  However, I will try to say at least a little about the question.  And if we cannot finish our subject in this particular issue, I have an idea that our Editor-in-chief will be kind enough to grant us a little space in the next Beacon Lights.

Let me start out by saying: “This question is a very pertinent question for young people”.  When a person is sixty years old, he has no problem with choosing a vocation.  He may have difficulty finding a job which gives him a sufficient income to provide for the daily necessities of life, but he no longer stands before the choice of a vocation.  However, young people, and especially the younger of our young people, are confronted by the question: “What vocation should I seek?”  A number of years ago this was usually rather simple.  As a rule the son would follow in the footsteps of his father.  If Dad was a farmer, his boy would become a farmer.  If Dad was a carpenter, his son would learn the trade and either presently take over the business, establish a business for himself or just work for a boss.  If Father was a painter, it was self-evident that sonny boy also had to learn the painter’s trade, painter’s colic or no painter’s colic.  And of course, if Father was a minister it was expected that at least one or more of his sons would also study for the ministry.  And thus it was with blacksmiths, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc.  No, this did not always work out according to plan, but it was, nevertheless, much more the rule and custom than in our day and age.  Times have changed and with the change of times, customs have changed.  In our day and age there are many more jobs to be gotten and many more vocations to choose from.  The simpler life of the past is no longer with us.  We live in the highly industrial age with its almost limitless choice of jobs, offering all kinds of technical trades.  We live in times of details and specializing.

The result is that today a young man who wants to prepare for his future life is confronted with a great variety of choices and possibilities.  That makes the choice already more difficult than ever.  There are so many things to choose from.  Our schools, aware of the changed situation, offer a variety of courses on their regular curriculum which help to prepare the young man for his future task in life.  There is much so-called specialized education.  But then, of course, if one attends school, he must already have some plan for the future and choose his subjects in school accordingly.  Oft times, high school students and even those who attend college do not know just exactly what they want to do in the future and sometimes they make tentative plans, but as they go along, change their mind.  Now, nothing is worse than to just aimlessly wander around without any definite purpose in mind.  And youth is the time that we have to make up our mind as to what we would like to do in the future.

As a rule, the problem is simpler if one does not receive more than a grade school education.  Although, even then there are a number of problems which should be considered and looked into before one can settle down, so to speak, and choose a certain vocation, trade or job.

On the other hand, to mention an example, if one was born on the farm, likes farming and has made up his mind to become a farmer, his case is very simple.  Presently, he may have quite a job to find a farm, but as to his particular vocation (taking this term in the broad sense) he is not confronted with any problems and difficulties which are of a principle and spiritual nature.

However, according to your question, you want to know a little more about some of the rules that should guide one in choosing a vocation.  You also wanted to know if I could mention some principles, Scriptural principles, which should guide us in answering the question we are talking about.  You also asked me if I could not give a word of warning in our Beacon Lights addressed especially to those that seem to be rather indifferent about their future vocation or (and) those who don’t seem to realize that we must also be guided by the principles of the Word of God.  Asking about the subject of choosing a vocation you also brought up the matter of the church.  And finally, you wanted me to give some practical illustrations about some of these things.

Well, my dear friend, Pete, I told you already that your question implied quite a little.  I was afraid from the start that I could not answer this question in one ‘short’ article.  Please, look for the next Beacon Lights and, the Lord willing, we’ll continue this subject.

In the meantime, I encourage you and any of our readers to send me questions, in connection with this subject or any other subject.  I cannot give any promise that I’ll answer every question, but we can at least talk about matters and discuss our problems.

P.S.   You ask me who I really am.  I’d gladly tell you as far as I am concerned, however, the Staff of Beacon Lights thought it would be better if I’d use an anonymous name.  I suppose they think that this is better for me in case I’s say too much and it is better for our potential questioners because they may feel a little more free to ask questions.  Naturally, I will keep your name confidential if you so desire and I will also treat your correspondence confidentially in as far as this is necessary.