While I don't understand everything, there is one thing I am solidly convinced of: a call is not a career. The pivotal distinction between the two may be the most important thing we ever understand about the call of God, especially in these times.
The words themselves immediately suggest one difference. Our English word career comes from the French carriere, meaning "a road," or "a highway." The image suggests a course one sets out on, road map in hand, goal in sight, stops marked along the way for food, lodging, and fuel.
Looking back, we can speak of one's career as the road one took in life. But more often we speak of it as we look forward, as the path one chooses and plans to travel professionally, an itinerary charted and scheduled. The destination is primary. The roads are well-marked. The rest is up to the traveler.
A call, on the other hand, has no maps, no itinerary to follow; no destination to envision. Rather, a call depends upon hearing a Voice. The organ of faith is the ear, not the eye. First and last, it is something one listens for. Everything depends upon the relationship of the listener to the One who calls. Careers lend themselves to formula and blueprints, a call only to a relationship. A career can be pursued with a certain amount of personal detachment, a call never.
Excerpted from an article in Find Your Calling, a downloadable resource from Gifted For Leadership.