Lenten Devotion for Day 13 March 7, 2023

When do you notice God working through you? That question is central to today’s Good Courage devotion.

When I thought of the kind of moments when I have the sense that God is at work, through my actions, I realized they are closely tied to what I also recognize as things I feel “called” to do.

As a person in ordained minstry, there are three particular things to which I am “called”: Word (preaching, teaching, writing, speaking); Sacrament (presiding at Communion and Baptism, and other informal but also holy moments); Pastoral Care (being present with people and talking, and trying to listen deeply).

I feel very lucky that these are all things that I:

1) really like doing.

2) seem to have gifts to apply to the tasks.

This led me to thinking about a definition for “call” or vocation that I used recently in a learning time, and which has long been a touchstone for me. It’s by Frederick Buechner, who was an American Presbtyerian pastor and celebrated author of fiction and theology. I have room here to expand the quote to include some preamble from his book “Wishful Thinking”:

“IT COMES FROM the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a (person) is called to by God.  

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Super-ego, or Self-Interest.  

By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either. 

Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

A few folks have mentioned they like it when I tie a song to the day’s theme. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, this is the song that touched that part of me that was trying to discern that to which I was “called”. I identified with the sense of being called or drawn somewhere that comes through, if not the particular destination:


  1. Ann-Marie says:

    I appreciate your music inspiration as part of these devotions.

    1. Darrow says:

      Interesting that you commented today. I actually thought of you when I listened to the song, and added the video to the post.

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