Vocation

I recently read a book by Gene Edward Veith. In the book he mainly summarizes and expounds upon what Luther to say about vocation. Even though much of the book was not new material for me, it reminded me of a few things I thought I might share:

1) God’s sovereignty.
It is very true; sad, but true, that I take most seemingly mundane things in life for granted. To put it in other words, I forgot that God is sovereign, that He owns the cattle on a thousand hill, that He holds the world in the palm of His hand, that He is in complete control of everything. Instead, in my mind I see the things I do to take care of myself. How often I have heard the sovereignty of YHWH preached from the pulpit, in books, and read in His word, yet I always end up the center of my little universe. Thus on the very first page of the chapter entitled “How God Works Through Human Beings” where I read “God healed me…God talked to me…God fed me…God clothed and sheltered me…God protected me…God give me pleasure” , I was immediately convicted of the fact that I do not view people within their different vocations as God’s instruments, and that it is God who ultimately takes care of me. This was probably one of my favorite chapters in the book, because it presented God’s sovereignty in a way I had never thought before. I was also reminded that earthly rulers and authorities are God’s instruments. I daresay I will continue to need more reminders, because since everyone is a sinner, it is too easy to get caught up in pointing out someone’s faults, and complaining about their use of God-given authority.

2) God’s calling.
Vocation in the Christian sense, or as Veith describes it through Luther, is something I heard of once or twice, and practically disregarded. Having grown up in the church, I have heard of God’s “calling”, and always associated it with one vocation (generally speaking) in life, namely, a career (i.e., motherhood, ministry, missions). I never associated God’s calling with my present situation. The poignant reminder that God’s calling is my vocation, that my vocation is more than one, and that my vocation(s) are here and now, motivates me to strive harder for excellency, and to work for God, not for men, no matter how mundane and earthly the task at hand may be. I also regard my situation as more sacred, and it causes me to pause and consider how well I am using my time, as to walk carefully, because the days are evil.

3) My calling as a worker.
The chapter entitled “Your Calling as a Worker” struck me hard as well, because all summer I had been struggling with laziness, wasted time, and service, in regard to my job. It was emphasized in this book that our good works are used for serving others. Honestly, I had never heard it put this way. My work at my job, serving others? Isn’t work about putting in good effort for the money one makes? Again, I can see how earthly my thinking is, and very selfish it is. My occupation is not just about me, it is about others and how I can serve them. If I am struggling with laziness, wasted time, and slow service, then am I really being a good servant with the time and resources I am given? Am I really looking out for other’s interests? I think the answer is “no”, and to re-think my work as a service to others and not for myself (because I am making money, etc.), was really sobering, because it made me realize that not only was I not being a good worker, I was wasting one of my opportunities to imitate Jesus and be a servant in everything that I do in relation to others. Not only am I serving the people who benefit from my work, but I am serving my boss, because of the assistance I am providing. Ever since reading that chapter, it has been my prayer every morning for the Lord to give me the heart of a servant, and to do so with a right attitude.

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2 thoughts on “Vocation

  1. […] it. (By the way, I wrote a little book review dealing with the subject of calling and vocation here, so I will try not to repeat what I wrote […]

  2. Nate Milne says:

    Awesome book. Here’s the review I wrote way back when I read it: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2YG0DPEX5J3TG/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    Five years later, I look back at that book as one of the top ten most influential books I’ve ever read. Even just last month, when we had to all write up our “life’s mission statements” at work, mine ended up being taken from two things: Q&A 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (“to glorify God and enjoy him forever”) and Luther’s doctrine of vocation (how that is worked out in my family, church, workplace, and society/government). It is seriously an important component of my everyday thought now.

    However, that’s not even the best book by Gene Edward Veith, believe it or not. His best book is “Why God’s Word Is All We Need” (currently out-of-print, unfortunately). That book is the best book other than the Bible. It’s so good that my old roommate Gladman and I used to buy dozens and give them away to every Christian we knew (it was only like $3.50 each; it’s more of a booklet anyway).

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