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My first paid job was riding the streets of Camperdown, Western Victoria in the cold, pre-dawn light, delivering papers stacked on the back of my three-speed bike. At twelve years of age, I would finish by visiting the local bakery and stuffing down an icing-slathered Boston bun as a pre-breakfast treat. A year later I was selling papers and magazines up and down the main street of Naracoorte three afternoons a week, learning how to wangle tips out of my customers. (I would love to hear what your first paid job was. Just hit reply). 

Throughout my high school years, I worked in a supermarket, a hardware store, carting hay and as a ‘rouseabout’ in a shearing shed. Most of what I earned through those years was spent at ‘The Ritz’ café on Space Invaders/Galaxia, junk food and fully sugared Coca-Cola. 

Sixteen years old and straight after graduating with mediocre high school results, I moved to the bustling metropolis (!) of Adelaide, working full time as a bank batch clerk and then teller. Full time work was a shock, as was independent living. I lived for Friday night knock off. A few years later, having experienced a profound renewal in my faith, I was off to Uni as a ‘mature age’ student at the grand, ‘old’ age of nineteen.  

I loved studying accountancy; sensing God was calling me to do so. Strange, I know! Graduation led to work as an auditor, and then as a systems analyst at Mitsubishi, back when they still built cars in Australia. In my late 20’s I made the leap into church youth work and event management, coordinating two large international conferences. Back to Uni, it was formation and training as a Minister in the Uniting Church (hence the ‘Rev’), leadership of the church’s state office in South Australia and then fifteen glorious, God-enriched years on the Gold Coast leading Newlife Church. And then through life’s twists and turns, the whisper of God, brought Sue and me to Wesley Mission.  

I was recently reflecting on all of this as I sat listening to a speaker at a conference I was attending. My official title is ‘CEO and Superintendent’, reflecting the fact I am responsible for leading (with so many other fabulous people!) our community services work, as well as the work and ministry of our nine congregations. You could say I have two jobs. In fact, I have said exactly that – at staff orientations and other settings. It’s a rather exhausting way of framing it.  

The moment of revelation or insight I experienced sitting in that conference, my mind wandering far from the speaker’s topic, was that I don’t have two jobs so much as I enjoy one, unique calling – a vocation. It was a profound moment, a reframing – and a liberating and freeing one. 

Wikipedia – the fount of all wisdom – defines vocation as ‘an occupation to which a person is especially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified.’ While there have been many times where I have questioned whether I have been suitably qualified for roles I have enjoyed, including this one, overriding feelings of inadequacy has been the God-breathed sense that, more than a job, God has prepared and equipped me along the way for the vocations he has called me into. 

All around Wesley Mission I see people, those who share my faith as well as those who don’t, who are not simply ‘doing a job’, but living into a vocation – a calling. I see it in their soft hearts, hard feet, sharp minds and open hands that they bring to their work.   

As you move through your daily tasks, amid the commonplace and routine that touch all of us in our professional and personal lives, and as you navigate the challenges and successes of today and the week ahead, I invite you to pause and contemplate your journey, recognising the unique vocation to which you’ve been summoned. 

Every blessing,

Rev Stu Cameron
CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission

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