This fall we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a time in history when Martin Luther shook up the church as he proclaimed the Biblical truth of salvation by grace alone. He also shook up the church, and the secular world, too, with his teachings on vocation.
‘Vocation’ comes from the Latin word for ‘calling.’ Prior to Luther, the only people with ‘callings’ were monks and nuns. Today, we might hear people talk of being called to medicine or teaching or being a pastor, and we have vocational schools that teach trades. But Luther taught that all Christians are called by God to every task: parenting their children, governing the city, planting and harvesting, milking the cows.
More than that, Luther stressed that when we do those tasks, God himself is active, providing for his children through the tasks we do. As we work, we are the masks behind which God hides his role as provider. As Luther put it, “God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is.”
That puts a whole new spin on our daily tasks. Through me, God does the laundry, writes blogs, the annual report, and shovels snow off the driveway. Through you, he teaches your daughter to ride a bike, he designs the marketing material, makes a sales presentation, and takes your elderly parent to the doctor.
So instead of ‘things to do,’ we have callings! We are personally called by God to our roles and tasks in our families, in our employment, as well as our roles as neighbors and citizens and members of our church. What a honor. What a responsibility. What a joy!
Consider: Name five things God did for others through you in the past 24 hours. How does it change your perspective to think of God doing these things through you?
Read: Exodus 35:30 to 36:2. God builds the tabernacle through the efforts of skilled craftsmen.
Pray: Dear God, it’s humbling to think that you would stoop to working through me, and it’s empowering to know you are at work through my efforts. Make me worthy of the tasks you’ve called me to. Amen.
Note: This is the second in a set of five reflections titled “Cheer Up! On Your Feet! He’s Calling You!” The series begins here.