- The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness–One of the first contemporary voices on this subject by someone who always has much to say, and says it so well.
- Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber– A book we know well! Winner of many awards, it addressed the question, “Can we know the world, and still love the world?” setting forth vocation as the way in which we answer that question.
- Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller– One that will have the widest reading from a most trusted source.
- Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good by Amy Sherman–Excellent in every way, and a very practical book by a wise and good friend.
- Laborem Exercens: On Human Work by Pope John Paul II–Remarkably rich in theology, scripture, philosophy, and scope. Impossible to read without being challenged in someway, and inspired. See also Rerum Novarum: On New Things by Pope Leo XIII. Google to find both of these.
- Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson–Written from a pastor’s perspective, it’s very accessible and solid, with a solid treatment of work viewed through the lens of Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation.
- Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor by Ben Witherington–Another excellent, if not a touch more professorial, treatment of work, with a good view towards the cultural mandate.
- Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Work, ed. by William Placher–The concept of vocation is enjoying new attention in the 21st century, but there is two millennia of Christian thought behind it, most of which is compiled here.
- Vocation: Discerning Our Callings In Life by Douglas Schurrman–A touch academic, but still helpful, especially considering one’s own vocation.
- Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer–A profound and practical, and challenging take on answering the question, “What is my vocation?”
- Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch–From a creative and thoughtful communicator, looking at the context behind every calling.
If these aren’t enough, Byron Borger of Hearts and Minds bookstore offered an excellent overview of the many books on vocation, which can be found on that website with the title “Books on Vocation & Calling, Books on Work and Jobs”.
Resources on the Web
Vocation Needs No Justification article by Steven Garber–a great start on why vocation matters as much as other Scriptural emphases.
Vocation is Integral talk given by Steven Garber at a Q Ideas conference, in video format. Short and to the point.
John Yates’ talk on how he came to new understanding later in his ministry about the central role of our work in God’s plan, given at a conference at The Laity Lodge in summer of 2012 and found on The Washington Institute website. There you’ll also find John’s commencement address to Covenant Seminary in 2008 on similar themes.
“Vocation is Mission” lecture series by Bill Haley for The Washington Institute in audio and transcript, looking deeply at work and vocation through the lens of Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation. This ursues the question, “This topic is hip—but is it Biblical?”)
Tim Keller has a video on Why Work Matters on Youtube.
Kate Harris has offered a great article on domestic life, motherhood, and vocation To Dwell in a Household: Menial Work, Menial Work, Meaning, and Motherhood. Not all our deepest vocations, nor the most important, are paid!
On Vocation from a Different Angle
Fiction: Leaf by Niggle by JRR Tolkien–A short story, and far and away the best fictionalized attempt to get at the eternal value of our work, emerging from a deep and solid theological foundation. Gorgeous.
Music: U2, Mumford and Sons, Bruce Cockburn, and JS Bach all come to mind as those gifted in music and doing their best to offer that gift back to God and to the world for the enduring blessing of many. You get the sense in all of them that they are people consciously trying to steward their gifts faithfully. Listening to them inevitably inspires the question for each of us, “How am I using my gifts to their full potential?” Check out iTunes for all of them.