The Gospel of John is book-ended by scenes of vocation or calling: In John 1, Jesus calls two of John the Baptist’s disciples to “Come and see”; in John 21, the Risen Christ invites Peter, saying “Follow me.” The key position and importance given to these scenes reveals how paramount the sense of being called and chosen was to the community who gathered together to remember and commemorate their experiences of Christ. “You have not chosen me,” Jesus tells his disciples, “but I have chosen you.”
Jesus has chosen each and every one of us. Everyone has a vocation. This vocation is not equivalent to our career or our business card, though for some people, their vocation might be related to their career path. Rather, our vocation is the unique life to which we are called as children of God. It encompasses our relationships, our talents, the whole of our identities.
The only constant in vocation is that it is other- oriented. “I give you a new commandment,” Jesus says, “love one another.” We can express this vocation to love in our work, in our relationships, or in our world. One way to step into this larger sense of vocation is to ask yourself: What do I love to do? What makes me feel passionately alive? Where do I respond deeply to the needs and desires of others? God does not shout and God does not force us in helping us grow into our vocations. Often, our desire and our joy can be a very good indication of where God might be leading us. Jesus is in that joy, beckoning us forward toward larger life, saying, “Follow me.”