Lessons learned in ‘Work as Divine Calling’

September 21, 2015 / by / 2 Comments
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By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The Integration of Faith, Learning and Work sessions for Grand Canyon University faculty are focused on the work aspect for the 2015-16 school year, and the first “Lunch and Learn” Friday sparked an interesting discussion about how to know you’re in the right career.

Who better than two teachers to address the topic with appropriate passion?

Paul Danuser

Paul Danuser

Paul Danuser and Brandon Juarez of the College of Education tackled the idea of “Work as Divine Calling” with gusto and humor. Elementary and high school teachers long have been among the most underpaid and unappreciated workers in the United States, but their love for what they do is what keeps them going — and that devotion to students and to the teaching craft doesn’t leave them once they become university instructors.

Indeed, Danuser said he enjoys what he does so much, he wishes he could do it every day. But he acknowledged that the enormity of the teaching challenge has grown exponentially over the years, and he did so with two equations that got a big laugh from the standing-room-only audience in Howerton Hall:

His old formula:

C + H + GT

Brandon Juarez

Brandon Juarez

(Confidence + Humility = Great Teacher)

His new formula:

C + H + HW + F + C + P1 + P2 + I + D + SoH = GT

(Confidence + Humility + Hard work + Faith + Compassion + Patience + Passion + Intelligence + Dedication + Sense of Humor = Great Teacher)

The main point Danuser and Juarez were trying to make: “If we see our work without seeing the people we work with, we are missing out. When we focus on the fundamental act of caring for others, we see our work as a calling.”

Dr. Jason Hiles

Dr. Jason Hiles

Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of the College of Theology, followed with the general theological perspective of work as a divine calling.

“Whether our work matters is a matter of faith,” he said.

Hiles used a quote from Dorothy L. Sayers, a renowned English essayist and Christian humanist who died in 1957, about work:

“It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

Hiles said we are called in three ways:

  • To Christ (salvation)
  • To a specific purpose or mission (vocational)
  • To immediate needs and responsibilities (dutiful)

The danger in our work, he said, is that we tend to err in two ways: Either we love work too much (it becomes our identity and consumes us) or too little (it becomes inconsequential).

Again, a teacher had the right advice for all those workaholics out there:

“We cannot allow the ‘busyness’ to blind us from serving others and recognizing our work as a divine calling,” Juarez said.

● Next Integration of Faith, Learning and Work session: Friday, Oct. 16, Josh Danaher, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, “Work as Cultivation and Service”

Contact Rick Vacek at 639.8203 or rick.vacek@gcu.edu.


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2 Responses
  1. Belita Webb

    It took me a few years to realize that teaching is a “calling”…a God-given gift not all teachers possess the gift. I believe I do. I appreciate the calling. I believe that to teach is to serve others…to “whole-heartedly” care about the impression you may make when touching the life of another human being. The pay rewards may differ for good service (teaching); however, a good servant never stops providing the best service possible. I love to serve the students I am blessed to encounter.

    Oct.02.2015 at 9:09 pm
  2. Mike Ausmus

    Great comments regarding the teaching profession. Many teachers do not make it in their field due to many of the difficulties discussed here. The love for youth and their advanced education has to be the motivating factors that produce each of our attributes as a teacher!

    Jan.18.2016 at 11:16 am
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