We are each called to incarnate some aspect[s] of God in our life, that is our calling, our vocation. It will be what brings us fully alive as a son or daughter of God.  Moreover whatever we incarnate of God, being ‘of God’, will be eternal.  It will be at least part of what of us exists beyond death.

Often we will be able to identify the moment when we recognised this vocation, knew what it is that we’re called to incarnate. Jesus had one such a moment at, or just after, His baptism by John in the river Jordan.

It was followed, for Jesus, by his sojourn in the wilderness where He faced three temptations regarding the manner in which He should live out His vocation, in which He should incarnate God in the world. It came to me recently that we face the same temptations as Jesus did, with respect to our vocations.

Jesus was tempted when He was hungry to use the gifts of His calling to turn stones into bread to assuage His hunger. He was later willing to provide bread for others to eat, but discerned that it was wrong to do so for himself, to meet his own needs.  He seems to have remained poor and without worldly possessions throughout His ministry, relying rather on God, acting through kindness of others.

Jesus was tempted to throw Himself off the Temple, inviting God to intervene to save Him and by glorifying Him, provide external proof to others that He was God’s Son.  He again declined to tempt God in this way in the Garden of Gethsemane. During His ministry He commanded those whom He healed & helped not to tell others what He had done for them.

Finally Jesus was tempted with a vision of earthly power and authority, which He declined. His power and authority were not of this world. He insisted that His Kingdom was not of this world.

It seems to me that we face these same temptations:  our vocation & its gifts are not for our own personal use, to be used for our own benefit, to make life easier for ourselves, but rather are to be used in the service of others; they are not to be used for our own personal glorification, to draw attention to ourselves; nor are they to be used in pursuit of earthly power & authority.

Rather they are to be used quietly, under the radar, in hidden ways, for the benefit of others not ourselves, and without seeking power & recognition, much as Jesus did.  This, of course, is the way that God works.