In honor of “Vocation Day” (known more popularly as “Labor Day”), I’d like to mention two people who, I think, have an incredible sense of vocation, even though that is probably one of the things they’re least recognized for: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Her Majesty wasn’t supposed to be the Queen. Her father was the second son of the monarch, which means he should never have been King. But, his brother Edward, (who had a terrible sense of vocation), abdicated the throne, leaving his brother, King George VI (another man with an astounding understanding of one’s vocation), to clean up his mess, and become the ruler he wasn’t supposed to (and never wanted to), be.
Now, maybe he would have been King eventually, or at least his daughter become Queen, because there’s some debate over whether Edward ever would have had children. But, he did become King, and Elizabeth was his oldest child. She herself was never even considered the “heir apparent,” but rather “heir presumptive,” because, regardless of her place as oldest child, had a son been born to King George at any point before his death, because of the laws regarding primogeniture at the time, he would have ascended the throne. There was no son, however, and so Elizabeth dutifully took on a role that she never expected or wanted, and that had likely hastened her own dear father’s death.
Prince Philip is another fantastic example. It was fairly obvious at the time of their wedding that he was marrying the future monarch, so that wasn’t a surprise to him by any means. But they weren’t, of course, expecting King George to die so suddenly or so young, and Philip was expecting to have more time in his chosen career–the military. But that wasn’t meant to be, and so he dutifully took on a role that most men would struggle with–walking two steps behind his wife for the rest of their lives (over 60 years, to date). He gave up his career to solely support her in everything she does, and he’s done it well. It wasn’t the role he expected for the vast majority of his life, but he gladly set aside his personal ambitions to do the task which was given him, the task he knew would be his someday, but not so soon.
A lot of people don’t take monarchies seriously anymore; they think they’re antiquated and unnecessary in today’s world. But you can’t deny the sense of vocation a good, God-fearing monarch (and his or her family), has. Queen Elizabeth has always taken seriously her God-given role as Queen, and has lived her whole life to serve her people, as God expects her to do, even when it wasn’t what she personally wanted for her life.
That’s a proper understanding of one’s vocation.