Vocation & volunteerism: Formula for a joyful and fulfilling life


It’s January, the Vocational Month of our Rotary world.  In business or churches, it is also the month when people commit to stay more focused on their business or vocation to service others in order to fulfill their mission.  In the Gospel this month, both Sts. Mark and John narrated the recruitment of Jesus’ apostles to a new vocation (calling):  “to leave their nets and He will make them fishers of men”.   As I slowly embrace the promises of a new year, it got me pondering about the different vocations, professions or businesses of clients, friends, fellow Rotarians and volunteers in our church, who I meet regularly.

It’s really a wonderful feeling that I am surrounded by friends and clients from varied vocations, professions and different businesses.   They are a source of additional knowledge, and inspiration.    Each profession or vocation molds the person, like a priest to become a holy man, a doctor or a nurse to become a more caring and compassionate person, a businessman to become a more astute individual to make money thereby employing more people to expand his business, a financial planner or retirement or tax advisor to update his knowledge to be of better service to his clients.

All these activities, however, address only the Physical quadrant (to LIVE), according to America’s guru, the late Steven R. Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But to live a more balanced and fulfilling life, the other quadrants must also be filled up, by:  the Mental quadrant (to LEARN), social quadrant (to LOVE) and Spiritual quadrant (to LEAVE A LEGACY).   That is where a calling comes in, as part of one’s human activities. Each professional or any worker should carve some precious time to do some work in the other quadrants as well, especially the last two mentioned above.  Having been involved in community benefits organizations (nonprofit organizations) for over 30 years now, I have seen and believe that people who volunteer their time and share their skills are more happy and fulfilled.

I have also seen many people who changed their profession completely to follow a new vocation, or an “inspired calling”.   For instance, I know a priest who used to have a successful insurance agency, a journalist becoming a lawyer, a lawyer becoming a writer, and a CPA turning into marketing person and a businessman (that’s me!) I think that one reason that eventually emboldens some people to change their career is when they realized that the ladder they are climbing is leaning against the wrong “tree,” whose fruits they don’t even want to eat!

In California, I have met many people and I have interacted with hundreds of them that enriched my own perspectives about life.   Many volunteer their time and their professional skills and donate a part of their treasures to worthy causes.   A few examples:  a fellow prison minister who has been doing it for over 25 years as a minister and he is now in his late 70’s!   I asked him why he still does it, and he answered why not?  He added that as long as he is able to, physically and mentally, it is his calling to continue this ministry.

Another person, a Rotarian, after the death of his wife, has a calling and traveled to Zimbabwe to help rehabilitate a hospital and also created livelihood programs for women. His donation was made the initial seed of a significant Global Matching grant that totaled almost $400,000 over a period of several years. Indeed he exemplifies our Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self.

That leads me to my conclusion that the right choice of a career or vocation in life, PLUS volunteering some precious hours contribute greatly to one’s joy and fulfillment in life.  Serving others, like doctors and nurses doing medical missions in third world countries, adds immensely to the growth and compassion of the benefactors.  Many Catholics and Christians, who live out their faith, work in soup kitchens feeding the hungry, work for Habitat for Humanity to provide shelter to the homeless, work among the poor providing clothes to the naked and also visiting the incarcerated in prison! For us Catholics, these corporal acts of mercy, make us more compassionate human beings, as we follow Christ admonition in Matthew 25:35-38.

It also got me thinking what kind of society do we have if there were no community or civic organizations that do all these human need?   I shudder at the thought if there were no true Services Above Self done by so many people in our communities!

Lastly, as we start another year, I invite a reader to consider doing some “volunteer” work and also contribute a part of his talents, time, and treasures to help others who just need a helping hand.

Side note:

As I write this column, 535 incoming District Governors from over 200 countries are in San Diego, California, attending a mandatory weeklong training with their spouses.  Thereafter, on Saturday evening, January 20, we are hosting and honoring two incoming governors of the Philippines out of 10 District Governors.  Our special guests are Atty. Mar Reyes, from our Quezon City District 3780 and businessman Pancrasio “Panding” Nisce of La Union, a part of District 3790, with their wives Cynthia Reyes and Dra. Edna Nisce at the new Luxe Seafood Buffet Restaurant in Westminster, California.

We are excited to hear Governors Reyes and Nisce share what they learned from the Rotary International Assembly as they plan to implement this year’s Rotary theme, “Be the inspiration.”

Let us all have a great, healthy and peaceful 2018!

* * *

Email: ernie.delfin@gmail.com

Website: www.gkerc.org 

      www.gk1world.com

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