First, I have to note the comment of my blogging friend, Mark Smith. I have reproduced Mark's comment to Mark Roberts thoughts on vocation below:
"Hi Mark, You made a good point when you said, “So, I expect that this might help to explain why Arch and I see things differently. And, if I were in his shoes, I might well see things from his perspective, and vice versa. We're both reading the same Bible, but we're seeing it in light of our pastoral concerns and challenges." It seems to me that most Pastors, male and female, are much more relational than the typical believer in the pew. Therefore, what usually gets preached from the pulpit is the need for more and better relationships in and out of the Church, but what gets heard and felt by the believer in the pew is a sense of failure in trying to achieve the Christian purpose. I think you are right that vocation and relationship are intertwined, but Arch is right that "relationship" has been over-emphasized (my word) to the detriment of being who God calls us to be.
Failure! Yes! That is it. I feel quite often as if I am a failure because I do not have a weekly morning Bible study at my office which attracts (by my winsome and charismatic Christian character) a wide and varied collection of hungry seeking people. And I sometimes feel like I don't measure up as a Christian because I have not lead anyone to Jesus as a direct outgrowth of my job. (Steve, the way you completed that Excel spreadsheet was so perfect, please, tell me about Christ!) Paint an "L" on my forehead, because I do not have this terrific "ministry" at my job. What am I to do with these feelings, and where did they come from?
As the Christianity Today (CT) article on vocation points out, our work as Believers is not necessarily about being "nice." Gasp! What, we are not to be like Ned Flanders?!! I agree completely with CT that "as good as those things may be, business is fundamentally about serving others." There is a whole topic for another post.
And yet, is it possible to serve others, do my job as best I can, day after day, year after year, and still build something that counts for Kingdom values - even if not one soul sees the Kingdom as a result of my work? I wonder. What do you think?