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Local bishop talks vocation versus job at Chamber of Commerce breakfast

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

A vocation is so much more than a 9 to 5 job, according to Bishop Tim Smith.

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce hosted its Power in Partnership Breakfast at Trinity Oakes on Thursday.

The event was sponsored by Trinity Oakes and Lutheran Services Carolinas.

Attendees mixed and mingled and enjoyed a breakfast that included eggs, bacon and fruit. At the entrance, people could drop their business cards in a fish bowl for the chance at a door prize.

Smith, bishop of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was the keynote speaker with an address called “Vocation versus Job.”

Smith grew up in Salisbury and graduated from Salisbury High School. He was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and played basketball under Dean Smith.

Smith graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 1986 with a master’s degree in divinity and earned a doctoral degree in ministry from Drew University in 1992.

Smith talked about his childhood and how different mentors in his life affected him.

“When we speak of vocation and we really are honest about why it is that vocationally we do what we do, a lot of it probably can be traced back to somebody really important who had a lot of influence on us as a mentor-type person,” he said. Some of those mentors included parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches.

Smith said loved ones, strangers and even advertisers can influence how a person thinks of themselves.

“Everybody in every moment is somehow giving you messages about who you are, who you ought to be,” Smith said.

Smith said serving and loving our neighbors to the best of our ability is part of a person’s vocation.

“If Martin Luther were able to look at you and your various representations of whatever business you’re in, whatever you’re doing is you offering a gift to humanity,” he said.

For Smith, a vocation is not just a person’s day job. Relationships with an individual’s family, community and country are all a part of that person’s vocation.

Elaine Spalding, president of the chamber, said Smith’s speech was a great way to end this year’s breakfast series.

The dates for the 2016 breakfast meetings are: Jan. 21 (Marla Johnson, Artistotle; Digital Marketing); Feb. 18 (Steve Chandler, ChandlerThinks; New RoCo Brand); March 17 (Agri-business); April 21 (Health Care) and May 19 (Dr. Jim Johnson, UNC Chapel Hill – Leadership.

With a Power Card, the chamber’s frequent attender program, an individual can receive discounted prices and does not have to make a reservation every month.

Individuals without a Power Card can still attend; the cost is $15 for chamber members and $25 for non-members.

Contact the chamber for information on reservations or sponsorship opportunities at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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