I am re-reading Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. I am about half way through. In the first half Gordon describes general principles on knowing God's calling in our life and the need for courage to fulfill it. The chapter I am now reading takes these principles and apply them to four different occupations or vocations: business, the arts, teaching and scholarship, and the ministry. I was reading the section on the arts this morning. The author made some interesting comments. One point was the need for excellence in the arts. Christian artists should not accept mediocrity. A second point was the importance of beauty. Third, the need for dedication to the craft and not commercialization. This mean not producing just because it sells. The author does realize the artist must make a living. Of course, this can come from his art, but he lists two other ways. One was is having a patron that will support your craft. Another way is to have an occupation that would allow you to be your own patron. The author also states how many artists get barely by economically, so they can practice their craft. This brought to my memory to my own calling.
Early on in college I realized that learning was an end in itself. Learning was worthwhile even without any utilitarian end. Over the years I realized I had a calling to study. Reading, studying, and thinking brings me great joy. My desire to follow a calling to study motivated my future decisions. I wanted to choose a career and lifestyle that would be centered around study. I wanted my life to make study possible. I did not want to work 60-80 hours a week that would leave no time for study. Through different circumstances and a sense of calling I became a librarian. Librarianship is my career, but it is not necessarily my calling. My work is a calling and a ministry. It makes it possible to do many of the things I enjoy doing, like research, writing, reading, and teaching. However, my passion is study. I make it a practice to get up before 5 a.m. in the morning for the purpose of reading, studying, and thinking. Some people think it strange that I do this. All I can say is woe is me if I did not do this.